Walmart to raise starting hourly wage to $11, offer paid parental leave

Walmart to raise starting hourly wage to $11, offer paid parental leave

Walmart to raise starting hourly wage to $11, offer paid parental leave

Walmart is boosting its starting salary for United States workers to $US11 ($A15) an hour, giving a one-time $US1,000 cash bonus to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.

Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement that the combined wage and benefit changes, which will benefit more than 1 million USA hourly associates, are a result of tax savings from this year's tax reform that reduced the country's corporate tax rate to 21%.

Since Wal-Mart's initial increase starting in 2015, many states have enacted minimum-wage laws, meaning that a "sizable group" of its 4,700 USA stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg. The one-time bonus is an additional payment to associates of about $400 million in the current fiscal year, which ends January 31. Employees who have worked for at least 20 years will get the full $1,000.

"Today, we are building on investments we've been making in associates, in their wages and skills development", Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.

The announcement comes after rival Target raised its hourly starting wage to $11 late previous year, with plans to increase it to $15 by 2020. "It's our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families".

Prior to Walmart's announcement, the total amount of bonuses pledged amounted to 0.09 percent of the value of the tax cuts to corporate America over 10 years.

McMillon said Trump's corporate tax cut "gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S". Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave.

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

The company is also boosting its paid maternity leave policy for full-time hourly workers to 10 weeks at full pay. The idea is to reward employees who won't benefit from the new starting wage.

Over the past two years, Walmart has raised its starting hourly wages twice, to $9 and then to $10.

Target announced it was raising its minimum wage to $11 last September and pledged to establish a $15 minimum wage by 2020.

An expanded parental and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly associates in the USA with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

Workers in Washington D.C. and the states of California, Washington and MA, already earn at least $11 an hour. While many traditional retailers have been struggling to keep up with online behemoth Amazon, Walmart has fared better.

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