Wal-Mart Raises Minimum Wage, Gives Out Bonuses
Wal-Mart is boosting the minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11 and giving out bonuses of up to $1,000. USA Today reports the big-box store chain, which has more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees, will reap a windfall from the U.S. corporate tax rate cut to 21 percent, down from 35 percent. “Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon 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 wage increase will take place in February. Employees who have worked at Wal-Mart for at least 20 years will get the full $1,000 bonus, but most will get up to a few hundred dollars.
Total Retail's Take: It's nice to see that Wal-Mart is reinvesting the money it will save from the lowered corporate tax rate into its employees. Wal-Mart's wage increase announcement follows suit with other large retailers, including Target, which announced last October that it was raising its employee minimum wage to $11 per hour and to $15 an hour by 2020. In addition, 18 states were slated to raise the minimum wage on New Year's Day. Analysts are debating whether Wal-Mart's wage increase is truly due to the recent tax overhaul or if the new tax law just accelerated the inevitable.
In addition to wage increases, Wal-Mart announced that it will offer full-time hourly associates in the U.S. 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave. However, not all the news from the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer was positive. Wal-Mart confirmed that it will be closing more than 60 Sam's Clubs locations this year, with a handful of those locations being converted to regional distribution centers to help fulfill online orders.