- Walmart is rolling out a new mental health support initiative that streamlines treatment access for employees and also teaches managers about behavior health warning signs, according to news reports earlier this week.
- Separately, Harris Teeter this week started offering paid parental leave to full-time associates, effective immediately, per a Wednesday press release.
- These efforts come as grocery workers across the board push for better workplace accommodations and retailers aim to improve retention and employee well-being.
With violence prevention a top-of-mind area for grocers and with incidents in the U.S. becoming more frequent, Walmart’s mental health initiative will teach leaders and managers how to best handle a situation involving an employee struggling with behavioral health issues, according to a recent Forbes article.
The “Workplace Mental Health course” will be overseen and run by Lyra Health, a company focused on improving mental health treatment access, Forbes reported.
Bolstering mental health support comes a few months after an in-store mass shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia, that killed six people. Walmart is facing three lawsuits from survivors, who are all employees, that outline inappropriate and concerning workplace behavior by the shooter, who was a Walmart team lead.
This is not the first time the retail giant has worked to improve its mental health support. In May 2021, Walmart began offering all its U.S. store associates as well as their families up to 10 free counseling sessions.
Only a few days after Walmart rolled out its mental health initiative, Harris Teeter began offering a new paid parental leave policy to all of its full-time associates. This updated benefit provides parents with four weeks of paid parental leave within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child, according to the company’s announcement.
The grocer notes that this benefit builds off its existing benefits program, which provides health care, paid time off and education assistance as well as profit-sharing benefits.
More grocery employees are pushing for better worker benefits from their employers. Numerous Trader Joe’s locations over the last few months have unionized and held votes for unionization while Cub Foods workers averted a strike after a “historic” contract win last week, giving them an hourly raise and the creation of a “landmark” safety committee.