Walmart to hike pay of most USA workers; adding free short-term disability

by Abel Hampton January 22, 2016, 16:18

The change includes a previously-announced increase to the retailer's minimum wage, but also incorporates a plan to move forward in the calendar the annual raises that many workers would typically have received on the anniversary of their first day of work with the company. They'll earn at least $10 per hour after successfully completing the company's new retail skills and training program.

The pay increase is expected to bring the average salary of a full-time Walmart employee to $13.38/hour and a median income of $10.58/hour for part-timers.

In an effort that seems like damage control, Wal-Mart released the news that it will be substantially raising its minimum wage, with more than 1.2 million employees receiving pay raises. When we do so, there is no limit to what our associates can accomplish", said Judith McKenna, chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. "Our customers and associates are noticing a difference.

In a post on Uber's website, entitled "Dear Walmart associates impacted by the recent store closures", Uber pitches the merits of driving for the company directly to those laid off at Walmart.

Meanwhile, others remain unimpressed with Walmart's wage increase announcement. According to a report by Forbes in April of 2014, it was estimated that employees of Walmart had incomes so low that they accounted for $6.2 billion in public assistance programs, including food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing.

Jessica Levin, a spokeswoman for the union-backed group Making Change at Walmart, told Reuters that she was skeptical that employees would see much benefit. However, on Wednesday, the retailer said all the hourly workers who are employed in the company's stores as of December 31, will be getting a minimum of two percent raise in wages.

After that took effect, Wal-Mart said its average hourly rates were "about" $13 for full-time employees and $10 for part-time.

"Walmart greed knows no bounds".

The widespread wage increase came after complaints of some store workers who have been with the company for a very long time that the newly-hired workers are being paid more generously as compared to them. The short-term disability plan is new, and is geared to provide "financial protection" to employees who are away from work because of illness, injury, having a baby, or other medical needs.

While denting profits near term, Wal-Mart has said the investments are helping improve customer service and worker engagement scores. Wal-Mart operates more than 4,500 stores in the U.S.

Given the endemic turnover in the retail industry, WalMart announced Wednesday it will give almost all of its US hourly store employees a raise next month.

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