Friday, 19 January, 2018

Walmart Boosts Pay and Benefits, Announces Employee Bonuses

NATION-WORLD     Walmart raises hourly wage to $11 expands benefits     
       Walmart credited President Trump's tax cut for enabling the new policy NATION-WORLD Walmart raises hourly wage to $11 expands benefits Walmart credited President Trump's tax cut for enabling the new policy
Elsie Buchanan | 12 January, 2018, 00:45

It is unclear if Walmart's new offerings are entirely linked to the tax cut, as the company has a history of low wages and benefits, along with a past wage increase that sparked layoffs and employee restrictions.

Walmart also announced expansion of its paternal and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly employees with 6 weeks of paid paternal leave and 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. According to the company, all of these wage and benefit changes will positively affect its 1 million-plus US hourly associates.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your reaction to Walmart's decision to raise hourly worker wages, pay a one-time bonus to employees and expand maternity and parental leave benefits as a result of the recent lowering of corporate tax rates in the U.S.? The company is also expanding its maternity and parental leave policy and adding an adoption benefit.

Walmart's current starting wage is $9 until workers complete a training program that boosts their wage to $10.

"The wage increases will make a big difference to Walmart's lowest-paid associates, but do not yet match Target's commitment to raise pay to $15 an hour", said the Organization United for Respect at Walmart.

"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. So competitive is the market that Morgan Stanley reckons in most cases only 50 percent of what retailers save in tax will make it back to investors.

The changes take effect next month. It will range from $200 to $1,000 depending on workers' length of employment with Walmart.

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"Beginning in 2018, we will see benefits from the tax reform ... in the form of lower corporate tax rates", he said.

Yet, participation rates for prime-age workers remain around three percentage points below their late 1990s peak, translating into around 3 million 25- to 54-year-olds who could be employed or looking for jobs.

The closures came on the same day that Walmart announced it would boost its starting salary for US workers to $11 an hour and hand out one-time cash bonuses. Walmart will contribute up to $5,000 per child to be utilized for "adoption agency fees, translation fees, and legal or court costs".

The retail chain employs about 2.1 million people worldwide - an estimated 1.4 million of which are in the U.S - which means an average bonus works out to be about $190.

Overall, the value of bonuses will be $400 million, but McMillion did not go into specific detail on how the fund would be doled out to the rest of the workers.

Since Trump and the Republican-led Congress cut taxes in December in the largest tax reform since 1986, multiple companies have announced bonuses of as much as $2,000, including AT&T, Bank of America, and NBCUniversal.

"That assessment will be done not only through the lens of associates, customers and shareholders, but also within Walmart's financial framework of strong, efficient growth, consistent operating discipline and strategic capital allocation", the company stated.

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