Walmart Stores Inc., the largest private U.S. employer, plan to raise its starting hourly wage to $11 and to give bonuses to employees to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.
Taking advantage of the recently passed tax reform that lower the corporate rate from 35% to 21%, Walmart passes on the riches to its employees to improve its image amid pressure to bolster minimum wages.
“Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in the statement.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees. Many of them will be benefited from the $11 minimum hourly wage. The wage increase takes effect in February and will cost $300 million on top of wage hikes that were already planned.
Walmart said the one-time bonuses is based on seniority and will cost the company $400 million Employees who have worked for at least 20 years will get the full $1,000.
The company is also boosting its paid maternity leave policy for full-time hourly workers to 10 weeks and increasing its paid paternity leave policy to six weeks.
Walmart would also offer financial help to employees who are seeking to adopt children.
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