Walmart is raising its starting hourly wage from $9 to $11 and expanding its parental leave benefits, the company announced Thursday.
The country’s largest employer, which has more than 1 million hourly workers, said the changes were motivated in part by anticipated savings from the newly passed tax plan, which offers sweeping tax cuts for corporations. Walmart is the first retailer in the S&P 500 to raise wages citing the tax law, and its across-the-board pay increases could pressure other companies to follow suit.
Walmart, which said the changes would take effect in mid-February, also plans to give one-time cash bonuses to some part-time and full-time workers, ranging from $250 (for workers who have been at Walmart for two to four years) to $1,000 (for those who have been working there for 20 or more years).
The company said the pay increases apply to all its hourly workers in the United States, including those at its Sam’s Club stores. Full-time hourly workers will also receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. (The company currently offers six to eight weeks of partially paid maternity leave and no parental leave.) The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company will also offer adoption benefits for $5,000 per child to full-time hourly and salaried employees.
“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Walmart, said in a statement. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”
The announcement comes after rival Target raised its hourly starting wage to $11 late last year, with plans to increase it to $15 by 2020.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Abha Bhattarai