In what it characterized as a decision to share the benefits of a lower tax rate, Walmart is increasing the starting wage rate for all hourly associates in the U.S. to $11, expanding maternity and parental leave benefits and providing a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1,000.
The company stated that it also would create a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses.
The wage change is in addition to increases already planned for many U.S. markets in the coming fiscal year. The increase applies to all hourly associates in the U.S., including those working in Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs, e-commerce, logistics and home office.
All full and part-time hourly associates in the U.S. are eligible for the bonus, which will be based on length of service up to $1,000 for those with at least 20 years of employment.
The wage increase will take effect in February and will add about $300 million to what already was included in next fiscal year’s plan, according to Walmart. The one-time bonus represents a payment of about $400 million in the current fiscal year, which ends January 31.
“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders. However, some guiding themes are clear and consistent with how we’ve been investing: lower prices for customers, better wages and training for associates, and investments in the future of our company, including in technology. Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”