Walmart giving employees $1000 bonuses, raising minimum wage

NATION-WORLD     Walmart raises hourly wage to $11 expands benefits     
       Walmart credited President Trump's tax cut for enabling the new policy

The company, which is the nation's largest private-sector employer, said it's also expanding its parental and maternity leave policy.

Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement that the combined wage and benefit changes, which will benefit more than 1 million U.S. hourly associates, are a result of tax savings from this year's tax reform that reduced the country's corporate tax rate to 21%. Retailers, in general, have one of the highest average effective tax rates because a majority of their operations are in the US.

"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. "It's our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families".

"A fairer and more competitive tax code will give retailers the ability to modernize stores, invest in their workforce and continue to transform the shopping experience for consumers", he continued.

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Walmart is using the windfall the GOP just gave Corporate America to score a public-relations coup, with a strategic move that would have been smart even without a tax cut.

Wal-Mart's hike follows Target's October decision to increase its minimum hourly wage to $11, which it will further boost to $15 by the end of 2020.

Economists have argued that one-time bonuses, while significant for workers living paycheck-to-paycheck, are not as meaningful as permanent wage increases. The payouts will total some $400 million, the company said.

But, Gordon said, the move indicates that "the corporate tax cut's touted trickle-down effects that were met with skepticism by critics may be happening".

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While companies and states have increased salaries in recent years, the $7.25 federal minimum wage has not budged since 2009.

Full and part-time workers at Walmart, the world's biggest retailer, will receive a bonus of up to $1,000 based on their length of service. In addition to changing its benefit for mothers, the company will begin offering full-time hourly and salaried associates six weeks of paid parental leave, and associates who adopt a child will receive $5,000 in financial assistance.

The company also will provide full-time hourly workers with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paternal leave. Previously, the company didn't offer any paid leave for them. The payscale for hourly workers will be from $11 to $24.70 per hour, the company said. It made a similarly splashy announcement back in 2015 about raising its minimum hourly pay amid improving economic conditions.

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