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12 January 2018, 12:19 | Cedric Leonard
Walmart raises starting wages, expands benefits
Walmart will increase starting hourly wages to $11 in February and begin offering 10 weeks of paid maternity leave for full-time hourly associates, the company said Thursday.
The minimum wage increase comes about a year after Walmart hiked hourly pay to at least $10 for most workers.
It will also give a one-time bonus to associates who already make $11 or more that will range from $200 to $1,000, depending on how long they've been with the company.
The company said the changes are a way to allow workers to "share in tax savings". Salaried employees will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave. Additionally, the Bentonville, Ark. -based mega-retailer is creating a new benefit to help associates with adoption expenses.
The big-box store chain, which has more than 1 million USA hourly employees, will reap a windfall from the corporate tax rate cut from 35% to 21%. 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.
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.
"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the United States". The one-time bonus is an additional payment to associates of about $400 million in the current fiscal year, which ends January 31.
While companies and states have increased salaries in recent years, the $7.25 federal minimum wage has not budged since 2009. Salaried associates will also get six weeks of paid parental leave.
The company will also expand hourly leave, "providing full-time hourly associates in the US with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave", it says.
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.
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