Walmart Announces Pay Increases, Expanded Benefits After Tax Cut

Walmart boost minimum wage to $11, plans bonuses after US tax cuts

More stores are slated to be closed in the coming days.

"The big-box retailer announced Thursday it will increase its starting wage rate for hourly employees in the U.S.to $11, and expand maternity and parental leave benefits", according to CNBC.

The layoffs went unaddressed but the wage increase attracted praise from the White House. "It's our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families".

News of the store closures, hours after the wage hike announcement, drew some criticism.

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

Walmart confirmed Thursday that it is closing dozens of Sam's Club warehouse stores across the country - a move that seems sure to cost jobs - on the same day it announced that it was boosting its starting salary for USA workers and handing out one-time bonuses to others.

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Citing kickbacks from the new federal tax law, America's largest private employer is putting more resources behind its ginormous workforce. Target previously announced that it was raising its minimum wage to $11 and pledged to raise it to $15 by 2020. A little less than a year ago, Walmart bumped its minimum wage up a dollar to $10.

Many small and independent retailers struggle to find workers even when they try to pay well and offer benefits.

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.

The nation's unemployment rate has sat at 4.1 percent for three months now, the lowest level since 2000.

"The fact is that Walmart is not permanently investing the estimated $2 billion it will receive annually from Trump's tax giveaway to its workers - it is keeping nearly all of it", said Randy Parraz, director of Making Change at Walmart, a campaign run by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. The stock ended last trade at 39.66 a share and the price is up more than 2.72% so far this year.

New York City labor unions have fought Walmart's plans to open stores in the city because "its wages and benefits are too low and.it could put union supermarkets out of business", The New York Times reported. In 2016, it said employees who finished an in-house training program would be eligible for $10 an hour. The retailer says it has spent about $2.7bn to increase wages over the past few years. The one-time bonus will amount to $400m in the current fiscal year. Hourly workers will be paid between $11 and $24.70 an hour. The company's quarterly revenue was up 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post 4.43 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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