12 January, 2018
Walmart plans to start paying its one million U.S. workers at least $11 an hour and give them a one-off cash bonus.
The starting wage rate increase, which is in addition to wage hikes already slated for many USA markets this coming fiscal year, applies to all US hourly associates, including those who work in stores, Sam's Clubs, the ecommerce division, logistics and the company's home office.
The one-time bonus between $200 and $1,000 will be given to Walmart employees who won't receive a pay raise.
Wal-Mart's announcement follows companies like AT&T Inc, Wells Fargo & Co. and Boeing Co., which have all promised more pay for workers after the Republican-controlled US Congress passed a tax bill that slashed the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. In addition to changing its benefit for mothers, the company will begin offering full-time hourly and salaried associates six weeks of paid parental leave, and associates who adopt a child will receive $5,000 in financial assistance.
In all, more than 1 million Walmart employees will benefit from the bonuses and wage changes.
The move follows last month's United States tax code overhaul that cut the corporate rate from 35% to a flat 21%.
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He added that "tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S". Paying workers more will help ensure those stores are pleasant shopping environments - a necessity for Walmart if it is to keep growing its sales.
The bonus amount will be based on length of service, according to the company.
Taking effect next month, the wage hike will be about $300 million incremental to what was already included in next fiscal year's plan. Salaried associates will also get six weeks of paid parental leave. Previously, the company didn't offer any paid leave for them. Walmart itself announced similar $1 minimum wage increases in 2015 and 2016.
Walmart also announced expansion of its paternal and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly employees with 6 weeks of paid paternal leave and 10 weeks of paid maternity leave.
With this move, the world's largest private employer has scored big points with Republican politicians, who now have a talking point for the campaign trail, and maybe also from shoppers who see its wage increase as socially responsible. Job postings at an Amazon warehouse in OH, for example, offer a starting pay of $14.50 an hour. It has done well and strengthened its hand in online retail as many other retailers have struggled.
Plus, Walmart knows from experience what raising wages can do to help boost business.