CVS Health Corp – Paid Sick Leave (2023)

Outcome: The proposal received a vote of 26.2% at the annual meeting.

Whereas: More than 26 million people working in the private sector have no access to earned sick time, or “paid sick leave” (PSL), for short-term health needs and preventive care.[1] Working people in the United States face an impossible choice when they are sick: stay home and risk their economic stability or go to work and risk their health and the public’s health.

The vast majority (77%) of the lowest earning 10% of American employees do not have access to PSL.[2] 48% of Latinx workers and 36% of Black workers report having no paid time away from work of any kind.[3]

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, PSL is a crucial contributor to public health, allowing workers who have been exposed to any illness to quarantine. One study found a 56% reduction in COVID-19 cases per state as a result of temporary federally mandated PSL,[4] and others an 11-30% reduction in influenza-like illnesses from state and local mandates.[5] State and local PSL mandates have also been shown to reduce the rate at which employees report to work ill in low-wage industries where employers don’t tend to provide PSL, lowering disease and overall absence rates.[6]

A lack of PSL could pose reputational risk, especially for a healthcare company like CVS Health (CVS), which describes its mission as “take on many of the country’s most prevalent and pressing health care needs.”[7] Although CVS provides PSL for full-time employees, almost one third of employees are part-time and therefore ineligible.[8]

CVS could benefit from all of its employees having permanent access to PSL. Research finds PSL both increases productivity[9] and reduces turnover, which in turn reduces costs associated with hiring.[10] This is particularly important for lower-wage industries like retail where turnover is highest. Additionally, a significant portion of CVS’s part-time workers are likely covered by state or local mandates or collective bargaining agreements. Proactively establishing PSL for all employees would help prepare CVS for potential regulation. Thirty-eight jurisdictions, including fourteen states, have adopted PSL laws since 2006.[11]

We believe adopting a comprehensive, permanent, and public PSL policy would help make the future operating environment more equitable and mitigate reputational, financial, and regulatory risk to CVS.

Resolved: shareholders of CVS ask the company to adopt and publicly disclose a policy that all employees, part- and full-time, accrue some amount of PSL that can be used after working at CVS for a reasonable probationary period. This policy should not expire after a set time or depend upon the existence of a global pandemic.








[8] CVS 2021 10K, p 15




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