Walmart raises minimum wage, gives bonuses after tax cut

Walmart is boosting its starting salary for U.S. 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.

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 US stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg.

The company is offering a one-time bonus to all full and part-time employees based on their length of service, rising to $1000 for employees with 20 years of service. Critics of tax reform have said companies are dishing out bonuses for the sake of good publicity and to curry favor with the White House. Salaried employees will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave.

-Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will raise entry-level wages for United States hourly employees to $11 an hour in February as it benefits from last month's major overhaul of the U.S. tax code, the company said on Thursday.

The retailer said on Thursday changes that to its compensation and benefits policy will impact more than a million hourly workers in the United States, with the wage increase effective next month.

Wal-Mart employs about 2.2 million people globally, with more than 1.5 million in the USA and had total global revenue of almost $500 billion past year.

The Republican plan cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

CEO Doug McMillon said in prepared statement that recently enacted tax legislation "gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S". The one-time bonus represents an additional payment to associates of approximately $400 million in the current fiscal year, which ends January 31, 2018. Previously, birthing mothers got six to eight weeks at half pay. Job postings at an Amazon warehouse in OH, for example, offer a starting pay of $14.50 an hour. The idea is to reward employees who won't benefit from the new starting wage. While many traditional retailers have been struggling to keep up with online behemoth Amazon, Walmart has fared better.

The move comes three years after Wal-Mart last announced it was raising wages, spending $1 billion in 2015 to lift starting hourly pay to $9 and then to $10 the following year - for workers who complete a 90-day training course.

"A better solution would be to raise the federal minimum wage and not leave it up to corporations", Gould said.

The hike will also increase the average hourly pay at Wal-Mart for full-time employees to $14.50 from a current $13.85. Walmart's online business is surging.

  • Wendy Palmer