Walmart is raising salaries for new employees from $10 to $11 an hour, expanding paid parental leave and offering a one-time bonus to eligible workers, actions that the company says will affect more than one million employees in the U.S.
The increase in Walmart's starting wage rate to $11 an hour will become effective in the February 17 pay cycle.
Walmart said that the one-time bonus will be given to all eligible full and part-time hourly US employees. The payouts will total some $400 million, the company said.
Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, has fought in recent years to improve its image in the US, as it weathered criticism over its treatment of employees.
The company is also creating a new benefit to assist employees with adoption expenses.
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.
For example, AT&T and Comcast dished out one-time bonuses of $1,000 to non-management workers, while Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp boosted base hourly pay to $15.
President Trump and his fellow Republicans have argued that the corporate tax cut, part of the biggest overhaul to the U.S. tax code in 30 years, will benefit workers and lead to more investment by USA companies.
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But its Dagenham Engine Plant in Essex, England, where the engine is built, will be prepared to meet increased demand. The engine shares the same graphite iron block material and forged steel crank used in the 2.7-liter EcoBoost.
CEO Doug McMillon said in prepared statement that recently enacted tax legislation "gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S". The retailer has spent about $2.7 billion to increase wages over the past few years. The one-time bonus represents an additional payment to associates of approximately $400 million in the current fiscal year, which ends January 31, 2018.
Previously, Walmart provided fully paid family leave to salaried workers, while hourly workers received half pay during family leave.
Workers in Washington D.C. and the states of California, Washington and MA, already earn at least $11 an hour. About a dozen banks have said they will raise their minimum wages.
Walmart also said it would offer financial help to full-time hourly and salaried employees who are seeking to adopt children.
The wage increase comes as Walmart is on a roll.
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. Walmart's online business is surging.
Lately, much of the talk about Walmart's showdown with Amazon.com has centered on the old-school retailer building stronger e-commerce muscles.
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