Markets

Walmart to raise starting hourly wage to $11, offer paid parental leave

Walmart to raise starting hourly wage to $11, offer paid parental leave

Walmart is raising salaries for new employees from $10 to $11 an hour, expanding paid parental leave and offering a one-time bonus to eligible workers, actions that the company says will affect more than one million employees in the U.S.

Since Wal-Mart's initial increase starting in 2015, many states have enacted minimum-wage laws, meaning that a "sizable group" of its 4,700 USA stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg. Critics of tax reform have said companies are dishing out bonuses for the sake of good publicity and to curry favor with the White House.

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, has fought in recent years to improve its image in the US, as it weathered criticism over its treatment of employees.

Walmart said on Thursday it would raise entry-level wages for hourly employees to $11 an hour as it benefits from the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years.

According to the company, all of these wage and benefit changes will positively affect its 1 million-plus US hourly associates.

This increase in wages to associates will take effect in February and will be approximately $300 million incremental to what was already included in next fiscal year's plan.

Walmart's announcement follows a series of similar moves by major corporations that also credited the tax cut with bolstering their businesses.

McMillon said Walmart is in the "early" stages of assessing opportunities from the GOP tax plan, adding "tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S". Most Walmart employees, of course, haven't worked there that long.




Walmart is also increasing its paid leave policy for new fathers and non-birthing mothers to six weeks at full pay for full-time hourly workers.

The one-time bonus Walmart announced this morning amounts to just over 2 percent of the total value of the tax cut to the company.

Previously, Walmart provided fully paid family leave to salaried workers, while hourly workers received half pay during family leave.

Parental leave has been another area in which retailers including Target and Ikea have been trying to offer better benefits.

The wage increase comes as Walmart is on a roll.

Twelve states already have minimum wages of at least $10, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The payscale for hourly workers will be from $11 to $24.70 per hour, the company said. It has done well and strengthened its hand in online retail as many other retailers have struggled.

The raise will increase the average hourly pay at Walmart for full-time employees from $13.85 to $14.50.


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