Walmart says it will pass along savings from the recent tax changes to its employees.
The mega-retailer announced Thursday that it will be increasing its starting wage rate for hourly workers to $11. It also plans to expand maternity and parental leave benefits and will distribute bonuses to eligible employees.
Walmart’s current starting wage is $9 until workers complete a training program that boosts their wage to $10.
As for the one-time bonus, a Walmart spokesman told CNBC that employees who have been with the company for more than 20 years will be eligible for a one-time $1,000 bonus. Those with two to four years of experience will receive a $250 bonus. Those with 15 to 19 years of service will receive $750, while those with 10 to 14 years of work there will receive a $400 bonus, and five to nine years of experience merits a $300 bonus.
Walmart is also rolling out another new benefit that will provide financial assistance to employees looking to adopt a child. Those employees can receive as much as 5,000 per child to cover expenses such as adoption fees, translation fees and legal costs.
“Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “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.
“However,” the statement continued, “some guiding themes are clear and consistent with how we’ve been investing — lower prices for customers, better wages and training for associates and investments in the future of our company, including in technology.”
Walmart has more than 1 million hourly employees over the country. The company said they can expect to see benefits kick in as soon as February.
The company said new investments are also likely coming thanks to tax reform. An announcement on those plans is expected on Feb. 20.
“Retailers have traditionally paid one of the highest effective corporate tax rates,” Sandy Kennedy, the president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said at the end of December, when House and Senate Republicans finally reached an agreement to resolve the differences between their tax overhaul bills, CNBC reported.
“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,” Kennedy said.