Walmart on Thursday responded to recently passed tax reform that reduced the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, announcing its plans to raise the company's starting wage, give employees one-time bonuses, and expand maternity and parental leave benefits.
Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and CEO, wrote in a blog post that given the lowered business tax rate dictated by H.R. 1, also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the company now has an opportunity to "accelerate" their "investment plan."
Starting in February, the world’s largest retailer will raise its starting wage to $11 an hour, up $2 from the current $9 an hour base, for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, Supply Chain, eCommerce, and Home Office employees.
The company will also provide one-time bonuses of up to $1,000 for hourly associates who have been with the company for a set number of years. Employees with over 20 years of experience will qualify for the full $1,000, while those with less than two years of service will qualify for a $200 bonus. The one-time bonuses result in an additional $400 million investment that Walmart will make in its staff in 2018.
"As an associate who’s been with the company more than 25 years, I understand the value of experience and we all appreciate those of you that have helped build this company over the years," McMillon wrote.
The company also plans to expand its current maternity and parental leave policy for employees in the United States. Walmart will now provide full-time hourly associates with up to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.
McMillon also announced a new policy aimed at helping salaried and full-time associates with the financial costs of adopting a child. Walmart will contribute up to $5,000 per child to be utilized for "adoption agency fees, translation fees, and legal or court costs."
Walmart's announcement comes on the heels of various other companies announcing they would take advantage of the new tax bill and pass off some savings directly to employees.