Walmart raises minimum wage, gives bonuses after tax cut

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the USA tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.

The country's largest employer, which has more than 1 million hourly workers, said the changes were motivated in part by anticipated savings from the newly passed tax plan, which offers sweeping tax cuts for corporations.

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

The increase in Walmart's starting wage rate to $11 an hour will become effective in the February 17 pay cycle.

The bonuses will be determined on an employee's length of service at the company, Wal-Mart said, and those workers with more than 20 years of experience will qualify to receive $1,000.

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Walmart, the favorite target of attacks on the left for exploiting their workforce, will include a one-time cash bonus to eligible employees as high as $1,000, depending on seniority.

"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", said McMillon.

Wal-Mart employs about 2.2 million people globally, with more than 1.5 million in the U.S. and had total global revenue of almost $500 billion previous year. "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 changing its benefit for mothers, the company will begin offering full-time hourly and salaried associates six weeks of paid parental leave, and associates who adopt a child will receive $5,000 in financial assistance.

McMillon said Trump's corporate tax cut "gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S".

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. Previously, birthing mothers got six to eight weeks at half pay. The idea is to reward employees who won't benefit from the new starting wage. That helped spur the long stretch of steady comparable sales growth it has enjoyed recently: When it invested in better pay and more training for workers, that translated into better-stocked shelves and friendlier customer service. About a dozen banks have said they will raise their minimum wages. While many traditional retailers have been struggling to keep up with online behemoth Amazon, Walmart has fared better.

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