Walmart, the world's largest private employer, is boosting its starting salary for USA workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000 to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.
Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the world with 2.2 million employees, including more than 1.5 million in the U.S. Its current starting salary in the U.S.is $10 an hour after workers take a training course. The minimum wage increase goes into effect February 17.
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 of up to $1,000 is based on seniority and will amount to an additional $400 million.
-Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will raise entry-level wages for United States hourly employees to $11 an hour in February as it benefits from last month's major overhaul of the USA tax code, the company said on Thursday.
"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. "It's our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families".
The move follows last month's U.S. tax code overhaul that cut the corporate rate from 35% to a flat 21%.
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". The idea is to reward employees who won't benefit from the new starting wage.
For example, AT&T and Comcast dished out one-time bonuses of $1,000 to non-management workers, while Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp boosted base hourly pay to $15.
Workers in Washington D.C. and the states of California, Washington and MA, already earn at least $11 an hour. Previously, the company didn't offer any paid leave for them.
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. It has done well and strengthened its hand in online retail as many other retailers have struggled.
But raising wages is something you could argue Walmart needed to do even in a less-favorable tax environment. Walmart's online business is surging.