Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Walmart to raise its starting wage to $11 an hour

Walmart employee Walmart to raise its starting wage to $11 an hour
Rhonda Young | 11 January, 2018, 21:10

Walmart says the wage increase benefits all hourly US workers within its stores, including Sam's Club, its website and logistics. (The company now offers six to eight weeks of partially paid maternity leave and no parental leave.) The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company will also offer adoption benefits for $5,000 per child to full-time hourly and salaried employees. The companies say the bonuses they've announced are a way to share some of their bounty with their workers, though in some cases it's a very small percentage of their gains.

Walmart's stock was up less than half a percent Thursday morning, having rallied more than 45 percent from a year ago.

The nation's unemployment rate has also plummeted to 4.1 percent from 5.7 percent since Wal-Mart's first announcement of higher wages in 2015, creating a battle to recruit and retain cashiers and shelf stockers. The federal poverty level for a family of four is about $24,600, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Rival retailer Target Corp raised its minimum wage to $11 in September, and said it would raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2020. As of December, the average pay for full-time workers was $13 an hour.

Labour groups have said that past rises in wages at the retailer have led to a cut in work hours for employees as the company sought to offset the impact on profits. The Walmart U.S. segment includes its mass merchant concept in the United States operating under the Walmart or Wal-Mart brands, as well as digital retail.

Wal-Mart's decision makes it the latest corporate titan to plow expected tax savings into employee payouts. 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.

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"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the USA", the company's CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.

In addition, the company is paying bonuses ranging from $200-$1000 for workers who were already making $11 or more.

With this move, the world's largest private employer has scored big points with Republican politicians, who now have a talking point for the campaign trail, and maybe also from shoppers who see its wage increase as socially responsible.

The company also will provide full-time hourly workers with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paternal leave.

While companies and states have increased salaries in recent years, the $7.25 federal minimum wage has not budged since 2009.

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