Global HR headlines: Employee stress at an all-time high, Walmart extends maternal care options

Volkswagen cuts wages and working hours as parts shortage bites.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, employee stress is at an all-time high and the pandemic continues to take a disproportionate toll on women. Walmart expands healthcare coverage to address racial inequalities in maternal care and a former employee of Tesla turns down a R239 million racial abuse compensation award.

Walmart addresses racial inequities in maternal care

Walmart is expanding healthcare coverage for employees who want to enlist the services of a doula, a person trained to assist women during pregnancies, to address racial inequities in maternal care.

America’s largest retailer first offered doulas to employees in Georgia last year and will expand the benefit to employees in Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois.

Walmart said it chose to extend coverage because of the potential for instant impact for employees who live in those three states. The company said that in Louisiana, the mortality rate is five times higher for black mothers than it is for white mothers. Walmart said that in Indiana, 33 counties don’t have OB-GYN services, reports AP.

Volkswagen cuts wages, working hours amid parts shortage

Volkswagen is set to cut working hours and wages at its Sao Bernardo do Campo factory in Brazil as it grapples with a lack of auto parts and electronic components to assemble its vehicles.

The metalworkers union said it had agreed to a plan for the German carmaker to cut working hours by 24 percent and pay by 12 percent, with the arrangement taking effect on 7 July, when workers are set to get back from a 10-day shutdown.

Volkswagen has nearly 8,200 employees at its Sao Bernardo do Campo plant near São Paulo, with 4,500 of them working on the assembly line, reports Reuters.

Ex-Tesla worker turns down R239 million compensation

A black former elevator operator at Tesla’s flagship California assembly plant has rejected a $15 million (R239 million) award in his lawsuit alleging racial abuse by coworkers, opening the door for a new trial.

Lawyers for Owen Diaz, who had sued Tesla in 2017, said in a statement that the award was unjust and would not deter future misconduct by Tesla.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Employee stress at all-time high

According to Gallup’s newly released State of the Global Workplace report, employee stress is at an all-time high.

Gallup found that in May 2020, the number of employees who felt strongly that their employer cared about their wellbeing shot up to 49 percent. Two years later, however, that number has sunk below pre-pandemic levels and now stands at 24 percent – the lowest in almost a decade.

Global numbers for engagement (21 percent) and thriving (33 percent) held relatively steady on average, and a notable finding was that the pandemic continues to take a disproportionate toll on women’s wellbeing and professional thriving.