The world’s largest private employer is about to give its employees a raise. Walmart just announced it will increase its employees’ starting wage rate to $11 an hour. Currently, Walmart’s starting wage is $9 an hour, which bumps up to $10 after employees complete a training program, per CNBC. The company also announced plans to expand maternity and parental leave, to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave and offer financial assistance to associates adopting a child.
In the inimitable words of Billy Mays, but wait, there’s more! Walmart will also pay a one-time cash bonus to eligible employees of as much as $1,000. There’s a catch, though: The bonus is based on how long you’ve worked there, and to qualify for the $1,000, you must have worked there for at least 20 years.
While Walmart credits the wage increase and parental leave reform to “opportunities” created by the recent tax reform law, the reality may be a bit more complicated. Target recently raised its minimum wage and Walmart could simply be trying to stay competitive with companies like Amazon and Costco, which offer similar wages to their workers. Plus, states like Massachusetts and Washington have established $11 an hour as the going rate for all workers, meaning that Walmart already had to pay employees in those states that amount.
Walmart can probably afford the increases, too, considering it is simultaneously laying off employees. (Not long after it announced the wage increase, reports emerged that it was closing dozens of Sam’s Club stores.) As for parental leave, it is increasingly becoming the law of the land, too, with New York and California requiring companies to offer expanded paid maternity and paternity leave.
This post has been updated with new information about the Sam’s Club layoffs and bonus restrictions.