Walmart giveth, and Walmart taketh away. The retail giant announced it would be raising the minimum wage for US employees to $11 an hour, and giving out bonuses of up to $1000. The company credits the new tax plan for the decision. But on the same day they announced the wage increase and bonuses, Walmart also announced that it would be closing about 50 Sam’s Clubs stores. The closures mean thousands of Walmart workers will soon be out of a job.
The new tax plan lowered corporate tax rates for several large companies. The tax rate for Walmart dropped from 35% to 21%.
CEO Doug McMillon said that they are investing that savings back into their employees. “Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development. It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families,” he said in a statement.
The minimum wage for US employees will increase to $11 an hour. One-time bonuses will be handed out based on tenure; employees who’ve worked for the company for 20 years will get the full $1000. But most employees are expected to get a few hundred dollars.
The retailer is also making more positive changes for workers. They’re increasing their paid maternity leave for full-time hourly employees to 10 weeks of full pay. Before the change, employees were only given 6-8 weeks at half pay. Walmart is also adding paid parental leave for new fathers, adoptive parents, non-birthing mothers, and foster parents.
But it wasn’t all good news for Walmart employees. The same day the company announced the changes to wages and benefits, they said they would be closing as many as 50 Sam’s Clubs stores across the country. The closures will result in job losses for thousands of people.
Many employees at the affected stores say they found out about the closures when they went to work, only to find the doors locked and a letter on the door. Others were informed via letters FedEx’d to their homes.