Walmart CEO says 'Happy New Year' with pay raise for employees

Walmart CEO says 'Happy New Year' with pay raise for employees

Walmart CEO says 'Happy New Year' with pay raise for employees

Walmart has announced an increase to its minimum wage and a series of bonuses in light of the Republican tax bill, but the bulk of its corporate tax cut still won't be trickling down to its workers.

Walmart -the largest single employer in multiple states throughout the nation- released an official statement this week, saying the megastore will raise its hourly wage for all associates to $11, expand maternity leave, and give out $1,000 in bonuses to eligible employees.

Walmart did confirm it would spend roughly $300 million more in fiscal 2018 in order to raise starting hourly wages to $11.

The starting wage increase takes effect February 17 and applies to employees at all U.S. Walmart stores, including Sam's Clubs, eCommerce, its logistics personnel and workers at its home office in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The Walmart wage hike, taking minimum pay up from the current $10 an hour after in-house training, is aimed at helping the company attract workers at a time when the USA unemployment rate is at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, making it harder to attract and retain minimum wage employees.

Additionally, the company announced it will grant 10 weeks maternity leave and six weeks paid parental leave to full-time hourly associates, including leave for parents who adopt. Walmart will contribute up to $5,000 per child to be utilized for "adoption agency fees, translation fees, and legal or court costs".

Walmart said the new tax law will create "some financial benefit for the company" and that is it is looking at additional investments. The company's effective tax rate over the past three years has been around 32%.

The company said the change is in addition to wage increases already planned for many USA markets in the coming fiscal year.

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Walmart's stock was up less than half a percent Thursday morning, having rallied more than 45 percent from a year ago.

While employees who have worked at the company for two decades or more will receive a $1,000 bonus, most employees will receive a smaller bonus, with the average coming out to about $190 among the chain's 2.1 million employees.

The entry of Walmart into the tax-reform debate accelerates the contentious discussion over how much the tax plan, still only weeks old, truly factors into these corporate decisions.

AT&T similarly disclosed intentions to invest an additional $1 billion into the U.S.in 2018 and pay a $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T USA employees.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a one year low of $65.28 and a one year high of $102.35.

Many small and independent retailers struggle to find workers even when they try to pay well and offer benefits. The one-time bonus payment increases planned spending by an additional $400 million.

It says it's also offering employees a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000, expanded maternity and parental-leave benefits, and assistance with adoption expenses. Target had raised its minimum hourly wage to $11 in October, and said it would raise wages to $15 by the end of 2020.

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