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Citing tax reform, Walmart to raise wages

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Starting pay to be $11 an hour for U.S. associates

Citing tax reform, Walmart to raise wages
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart said Thursday that it will boost the starting wage rate for its hourly associates in the U.S. to $11 an hour.

The raise — Walmart’s third increase in its minimum pay rate in three years — is part of a package of benefit improvements made possible by the recent tax reform package enacted by Congress, according to the company.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Walmart president and chief executive officer 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.”

In addition to the wage hike, which takes effect in the company’s February 17 pay cycle, Walmart said it will:

  • Expand maternity and parental leave benefits. Full-time hourly associates will get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave. Previously the company offered partially paid maternity leave and no parental leave.
  • Provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates. The amount will be based on how long the employee has worked for Walmart, topping out at $1,000 for those who have been with the company for at least 20 years.
  • Create a new benefit to help employees with adoption expenses. The benefit, available to full-time hourly and salaried workers, will total $5,000 per child and can be used to pay for adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.

The wage increase will take effect in February, and will represent an additional $300 million in worker pay over what Walmart had budgeted in next year’s fiscal plan. The one-time bonus payments represent an addition $400 million in employee pay in the current fiscal year, which ends on January 31, the company said.

“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,” McMillon said. “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.”

 


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