Hobby Lobby Refusing to Give Paid Sick Leave After Defying Closing Advice

Hobby Lobby Refusing to Give Paid Sick Leave After Defying Closing Advice March 27, 2020

It’s bad enough that Hobby Lobby is refusing to follow the CDC’s recommendations and remaining open because the wife of the owner had a vision from God; they’re now making it worse by denying paid sick leave to employees who are ill, which dramatically increases the risk of spreading the coronavirus to both employees and customers.

In a memo sent to store managers on March 23 that was obtained by Business Insider, Randy Betts, Hobby Lobby’s vice president of store operations, wrote that the company “is going to make every effort to continue working the employees.” In cases of illness, Betts wrote that sick workers would be required to use personal paid time off and vacation pay or take an “unpaid leave of absence until further notice.”

According to the memo, if a store is required to close because of a state or federal mandate, employees will first be required to use “all available paid time off benefits.” After those resources are depleted, workers will be eligible for “emergency pay” that is 75% of their regular rate of pay, and the payments will be made not based on scheduled shifts, but rather “on the average hours during the previous six weeks.”

So if an employee doesn’t have any vacation time left and gets sick, they have to choose between going to work while sick or not being paid. Inevitably, some will choose to go to work because they need the money and that means more transmission of their illness, whether it’s the coronavirus or some other condition, to other employees and to customers. I guess that vision from God included a command to put lives in danger. But of course, they’re “pro-life.” Whatever the hell that could possibly mean.

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