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12 January 2018, 03:28 | Melanie Burgess
Walmart raises starting wages, expands benefits
"Investing in employees is beneficial on multiple fronts, including reductions in turnover, as well as potentially enhancing the store experience for customers, which in the current shifting retail environment, is critical for any brick-and-mortar retailer", Moody's lead retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said in a statement.
Around 50 of those stores will be shut permanently after a review of profitability and up to 12 more will be shut and reopened as e-commerce warehouses, the person said. Walmart expects its largesse will cost $700 million, but framed it as a way for employees to "share in tax savings" from the tax overhaul that was signed into law in December.
The company said it will raise its US wages, give out one-time bonuses, and expand hourly maternity and parental leave for more than one million hourly associates at the discount chain.
The layoffs went unaddressed but the wage increase attracted praise from the White House.
"It's our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families", McMillion said.
But raising wages is something you could argue Walmart needed to do even in a less-favorable tax environment. Notably, the company also said it would raise its minimum wage to $11 an hour. "Associates that don't benefit from the new starting wage increase are eligible for the bonus and it will range from $200 to $1,000 depending on your length of service".
The wage increase announced Thursday by Walmart benefits all hourly USA workers within its stores, Sam's Clubs, eCommerce, logistics and home office.
News of Walmart's investment was cheered by supporters of the tax plan, which slashes the US corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and includes other features expected to generate windfall profits for companies.
Beginning Feb. 17th, Walmart will increase its starting wage rate to $11 an hour. At the same time, Target made a commitment to raise its base wage to $15 an hour by the end of 2020.
He added that "tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S".
Democrats have slammed the legislation, which also temporarily reduced tax rates for most individuals, as a giveaway to the wealthy that will widen the rich-poor income gap. The Company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club.
The company said new investments are also likely coming thanks to tax reform. Pretax income for the company's 2017 fiscal year ended last January was $22.76 billion.
A worker organizes products for Christmas season at a Walmart store in Teterboro, N.J.
The US retailer said on Thursday that the increase would take effect next month alongside new maternity and paternity leave benefits. MostWalmart employees, of course, haven't worked there that long. Before, full-time hourly workers received 50 percent of their pay for leave. Costco established a $13.50 minimum wage in 2016. Walmart employees previously started at $9 an hour, with a bump up to $10 after completing a training program. Costco Wholesale Corp. and other retail chains like TJX Cos. have also raised wages in recent years.
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