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As part of a strategy to invest in its people through changes in hiring, training, scheduling, store management structure and compensation, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. revealed that about 500,000 full- and part-time associates at Walmart U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs will receive pay increases during the first half of the current fiscal year.
Current and future associates can expect to benefit from the initiative, which will ensure that Walmart hourly associates earn at least $1.75 above the current federal minimum wage, or $9 per hour, in April. The next year, by Feb. 1, 2016, current associates will earn a minimum of $10 per hour.
"These changes will give our U.S. associates the opportunity to earn higher pay and advance in their careers," noted President and CEO Doug McMillon. "We're pursuing a comprehensive approach that is sustainable over the long term. By realigning our store operational structure, associates can enjoy a closer relationship with their supervisors. In addition, associates will have more control over their schedules. The investment in these initiatives is more than $1 billion for this fiscal year."
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have also committed $100 million over five years to help increase the economic mobility of entry-level retail and service workers by advancing their careers.
Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation, said that the company's decision to raise wages "is just another example of the power of the marketplace. Like many other retailers, Walmart made its decision based upon what is best for their employees, their customers, their shareholders and the communities in which they operate."
Added Shay: "Government mandates that arbitrarily require businesses to implement politically driven policy are unnecessary and, in fact, create hurdles to job creation, curtail capital investment and pose as barriers to a sustained economic recovery."