CVS and Walmart are reducing the hours of their pharmacies in the United States to improve the work-life balance of employees as the chains continue to fight staff shortages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
CVS said it will “adjust hours at select stores” in the spring, as part of a periodic review of “hours of operation to ensure we are open during peak customer demand.” The move will affect about two-thirds of the company’s roughly 9,000 retail pharmacies starting in March, a company spokesperson said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.
CVS, which is the largest pharmacy chain in the United States by revenue, said it was making scheduling changes to “ensure our pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they need it.” need the most,” a CVS spokesperson said. “If a pharmacy is closed, a patient can visit any open CVS Pharmacy location for assistance with their immediate prescription needs,” the spokesperson added.
Walmart cuts hours and raises wages
Walmart also said it was reducing hours at its pharmacies nationwide to improve “work-life balance” for its associates.
Walmart pharmacies will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Previously, they were open until 9 p.m. on weekdays.
“Walmart is committed to helping our associates live better lives. Walmart has a strong and incredible pharmacy team, and we’re making this change not only to improve their work-life balance, but also to maintain the highest level of service. for our customers,” Walmart said. said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.
Walmart said it is changing the schedule based on feedback from pharmacy staff and customers.
“By positioning our teams at times when our customers say they want to visit our pharmacy, we are better able to provide excellent customer service and support our associates as they continue to serve their communities every day,” said Walmart.
In mid-June, Walmart announced higher salaries for more than 36,000 pharmacy technicians, pushing their average hourly wage to over $20.
Before the pandemic, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians outnumbered job openings, according to Michael Hogue, dean of the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy.
As COVID-19 vaccines first began rolling out in 2021, regional and national pharmacy chains were clamoring for skilled workers to support the massive public health campaign. Job Opportunities for pharmacy students has skyrocketed.
Walgreens is hiring more pharmacists and raising salaries
A spokesperson for drugstore chain Walgreens, the second-largest in the United States, also said it had to adjust the pharmacy’s opening hours over the past 12 months due to staffing issues.
Walgreens added that it has hired thousands of pharmacists and raised the salaries of pharmacy workers to address ongoing staffing issues. He said the efforts were working and the problems were easing.
“We have seen positive staffing trends over the past few months as we work to bring more stores back to regular business hours,” Walgreens said.
Pharmacies aggressively hired pharmacists and pharmacy technicians beginning in February 2021, when COVID-19 vaccines were first made available to the general public, to accelerate efforts to inoculate as many people as possible. of possible people. Pharmacist job offers have exploded and drugstore chains offered hefty signing bonuses of up to $20,000.