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To: Howard Butt III, CEO of H-E-B

H-E-B Punishment-Free Sick Days

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

To whom it may concern,

The new Attendance and Punctuality system was designed such that partners are punished for getting sick. This automatic system is indiscriminate, uncaring, and corporatized. It encourages partners to come to work sick, and puts the onus on them for doing the responsible thing, and staying home.

On January 1st, 2023, I tested positive for COVID-19. While I wasn't running a fever, I had terrible symptoms and by all means should have been encouraged to stay at home. However, under H-E-B's rules, I would be required to come in unless I wanted to receive 2 steps for calling out. Unfortunately for me, I was on step 3 already (for being late for things outside of my control), and would receive a 40 rating if I opted to stay home.

So what did I do? I came into work with a mask on and my positive test in my hands. I sat down in a meeting with my department manager and my general manager, and told them that I was a danger to my team, and to our customers. They wanted nothing to do with the situation because corporate policy dictated that their hands were tied. I ended up receiving 1 step instead of 2 because I "left early" instead of calling in, and as luck would have it, I happened to have the next couple of days off.

One question I was asked by my GM in that meeting stuck out to me: "We're treating COVID like any other illness. If someone had the flu, they would get steps for calling out, so why should this be any different?" That's when it clicked for me - it's not any different. We should not have to suffer consequences for prioritizing our health, our fellow partners' health, and our customers' health above our attendance record.

The action I'm asking for is simple: expand the list of approved excuses for absences to include legitimate illness. Let our managers make a judgement call to excuse our absences when we are sick. I'm not asking for extended disaster pay or forced leave, I'm simply asking that we aren't punished for something outside of our control.


A concerned partner

Why is this important?

Tell me if this sounds familiar:
"X is sick? Yeah, I heard there's something going around the store..."
"I heard that almost the entire X department is sick.. "
"I'm sick but I really can't afford the steps for calling in..."

How often have you seen someone at work who was definitely too sick to be there? For me, I know it's been far too often. Time after time, our teammates come into work sick because they know they would be ⅓ of the way to termination if they called out. That's why I started this petition — to give us a voice in this policy.

We deserve to be heard and to be taken care of. I'm sure you remember our training where they said "Don't come to work sick! We'll work with you." It seems almost funny now. 2 steps for calling out sick, when you probably got sick from a teammate who couldn't afford the steps to call out, or an old dude wearing a political shirt who decided to make his cough your problem.

On top of that, now according to the HEB Executive Medical Officer, COVID-19 isn't contagious if you don't have a fever. So all of the CDC guidelines about asymptomatic transmission and self-isolation are just being tossed out the window by corporate. In order to avoid a 40 rating, I had to come into work with a positive test in my hands, coughing and wheezing, and still got a step for leaving early because they *wouldn't send me home*.

Help fight to keep ourselves, our teammates, and our customers safe. Let your voice be heard, and sign today.


2023-01-25 23:27:48 -0500

5,000 signatures reached

2023-01-12 15:24:17 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2023-01-12 14:40:18 -0500

500 signatures reached

2023-01-12 11:04:05 -0500

100 signatures reached

2023-01-12 10:54:02 -0500

50 signatures reached

2023-01-12 10:28:09 -0500

25 signatures reached

2023-01-12 08:31:15 -0500

10 signatures reached