Walmart to raise wages and give bonuses, citing GOP tax cuts

Walmart announced Thursday that it plans to raise starting wages and give a one-time bonus to employees, citing the tax reform bill passed by Republicans and signed into law by President Donald Trump last month.

  • Largest private U.S. employer to give bonuses of up to $1,000
  • Company says tax reform allows acceleration of U.S. plans

The starting wage rate will be bumped to $11 an hour and eligible employees will receive a cash bonus of up to $1,000, the retail giant said.

The increase in wages will take effect Feb. 17. The bonuses are based on length of service, with employees of at least 20 years qualifying for $1,000.

Walmart also said it will expand maternity and parental leave benefits, as well as create a new benefit to assist employees with adoption expenses.

Full-time hourly associates will qualify for 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

“We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders,” president and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, has fought in recent years to improve its image in the U.S., as it weathered criticism over its treatment of employees. With the wage increase and bonus payment, the company seeks to even its pay gap with resurgent rival Target Corp., while simultaneously sending a high-profile thank you to the U.S. government for slashing the corporate tax rate.

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