NEW YORK -- At Wal-Mart these days, snowy weather is no longer an excuse for lateness. And being 10 minutes or more tardy for work three times will earn you a demerit. Too many could get you fired.
It's all part of a revised attendance policy implemented this fall that makes Wal-Mart Stores workers more accountable for excessive unexcused absences .
The new rules already are drawing fire from critics who claim they are the latest attempt by the nation's largest private employer to weed out unhealthy and costly long-term workers as it seeks to cut labor costs.
"We are formalizing and enforcing the policy to ensure greater consistency and to minimize subjectivity," said John Simley, spokesman for Wal-Mart .
Documents furnished by union-backed WakeUpWalmart.com detail steps employees must take to report absences and tardiness before their start times. In the past, workers got permission from store managers.
Wal-Mart isn't the only major corporation grappling with how to cut down on no-shows; unscheduled absenteeism has climbed to its highest level since 1999, according to results released last week of an annual nationwide survey of human resource executives .