More than 890,000 Wal-Mart employees are expected to receive their share of more than $560 million in cash bonuses, the retailer announced Thursday.
Phillip Keene, director of Wal-Mart’s corporate communications for state and local corporate initiatives and public affairs, said employees nationally are receiving more than $160 million in cash bonuses based on their individual stores’ fiscal fourth quarter performance and more than $400 million in one-time cash bonuses tied to recent changes in the tax law.
In Pennsylvania, Wal-Mart associates are receiving approximately $19.8 million in combined bonuses. In New Jersey, employees are receiving approximately $6.3 million in combined bonuses, according to Lehigh Valley Live News.
The extra cash comes after the big-box retailer in January announced plans to increase the starting wage for all hourly associates nationally to at least $11. Prior, Walmart’s starting wage was $9 until workers completed a training program. Then, they received $10, according to a CNBC report. Target Announced need Monday it plans to go Walmart one better by raising its minimum wage to $11.00 an hours as the labor market grows more competitive for lower skilled workers. Target said those wages will rise to $15.00 an hour by 2020.
The company also expanded maternity and parental leave benefits and provided a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates up to $1,000. Additionally, a new adoption assistance benefit of $5,000 per child — announced in conjunction with the other changes — went into effect on Feb. 1.
However what Walmart isn’t specifically saying is not all associates will not get the $1000 dollar amount, that’s for those with the company 15 years or more and those with less time will see that amount prorated with most associates seeing about $200.00
With the national unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, there are more job openings in the retail industry than at any time since the turn of the century, government data show.
With its announcement on Thursday, Walmart didn’t mention the great difficulty employers are having finding and retaining workers in the retail industry.
“I would’ve been astounded if they hadn’t raised wages,” said Thomas Kochan, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “What’s impossible to sort out is how much of this is because of savings from the tax cuts, and how much is because of pressure they’re receiving from employees and labor groups.”
Walmart also said Thursday it would expand its parental-leave policies for hourly workers and begin providing $5,000 in aid to workers adopting a child. (The company currently offers six to eight weeks of partially paid maternity leave for hourly employees and no paternity leave.)
But it wasn’t all good news. The retailer also said Thursday that it had suddenly closed 63 Sam’s Club stores, affecting thousands of workers. In a tweet, the company said the closures would help “better align” its physical locations with its strategy. (Ten locations will reopen as e-commerce fulfillment centers.)
Walmart said the pay increases apply to all its hourly workers in the United States, including those at its Sam’s Club stores.