Walmart to raise minimum wage to $11 an hour


Walmart, the world's largest private employer, is boosting its starting salary for US workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000 to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.

The increase in wages will cost approximately $300 million on top of wage hike plans that had been included in next fiscal year's plans, the company said.

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.

Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have argued that the big corporate tax cut will benefit workers and lead to more investment by United States companies.

Walmart will also offer other nonpecuniary forms of compensation such as expanding its parental and maternity leave policy. 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. A discrete one-time charge will be taken in the fourth quarter of the current year to account for the bonus; qualification will be determined before the end of the month, and payments will then be paid as quickly as practical.

Walmart's announcement follows a series of similar moves by major corporations that also credited the tax cut with bolstering their businesses.

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

The bonus amount will be based on length of service, according to the company.

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Walmart's wage increase will take effect in February.

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, Walmart provided fully paid family leave to salaried workers, while hourly workers received half pay during family leave.

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.

Parental leave has been another area in which retailers including Target and Ikea have been trying to offer better benefits.

But raising wages is something you could argue Walmart needed to do even in a less-favorable tax environment.

The current minimum wage at Walmart is $9 an hour, which was introduced in 2015. The payscale for hourly workers will be from $11 to $24.70 per hour, the company said. While many traditional retailers have been struggling to keep up with online behemoth Amazon, Walmart has fared better.