Wal-Mart to give pay raises to most of its workers in U.S.

NEW YORK -- The vast majority of Wal-Mart's U.S. employees will get raises as part of the world's largest retailer's previously announced commitment to invest in its workforce as it faces pressure from labour-backed groups and seeks to retain workers in a tighter labour force.

See Full Article

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday said more than 1.2 million U.S. hourly workers will get wage increases on Feb. 20. The company, which is the largest U.S. private employer with 1.4 million total workers, also said it will provide free, basic short-term disability to full-time hourly workers. And it will start allowing workers to accrue paid time off as they earn it.

The moves mark the biggest changes Wal-Mart has made in its efforts to offer better wages and benefits to its workers.

Last February, Wal-Mart announced that it would raise base employee wages for 500,000 workers to $9 an hour last year, with plans to move it to $10 per hour, next month. The company also said new entry level workers hired after Jan. 1, 2016 would start at $9 per hour, but move to at least $10 an hour after completing a six-month training program. Then last June, Wal-Mart said it would raise starting wages for more than 100,000 U.S. department managers.

In total, Wal-Mart's CEO Doug McMillon said in October that last year's investment in wage increases, along with improved training, cost $1.2 billion. McMillon also said the company expects to pump $1.5 billion in to its workforce this year, although at the time he did not give details of other raises and perks to be offered.

As a result of the latest pay increase taking effect next month, the average full-time hourly wage at Wal-Mart stores will be $13.38, up from $13. For part-time workers, the hourly wage will be $10.58, up from $10. Last year, before the changes, the average full-time hourly wage was $12.85 and $9.48 for part-time. Wal-Mart declined to provide the average hourly wages for Sam's Club workers.

Those wages for Wal-Mart stores are still below the $14.95 average that hourly retail workers in a non-supervisory role earn, according to government data that includes people who work at auto dealers and other outlets that would likely pay more than discounters like Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart's entry level pay is above the $9.26 average hourly pay for cashiers and low level retail sales staff, according to the Hay Group's survey of 140 retailers with annual sales of $500 million. The survey was conducted last summer.

Wal-Mart's moves have met some criticism. Wal-Mart's initial pay triggered complaints from workers who felt that the raises weren't spread out evenly. Many of the new employees were getting increases in pay, making their pay closer to other workers who had been at Wal-Mart for a long time. The company acknowledged Wednesday that some employees were upset.

"We did hear from some associates who did feel left out last time, but we specifically did it to reward associates in a fair, consistent and transparent way," said Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg.

Here are more details of Wal-Mart's plan:

  • Workers who are already earn more than $10 per hour will receive an annual pay increase in February rather than waiting until the anniversary date.
  • The company is also raising the starting rate of its non-entry level hourly pay bands. So specialists like deli sales associates will make between $10.50 and $18.81 per hour, up from $9.90 to $18.81. Workers at or above their pay band maximum will automatically move up to the new minimum.
  • Workers who are at or above their maximum pay band will get a one-time lump sum payment equal to 2 per cent of their annual pay.
  • Starting March 5, full-time workers can carry up to 80 hours of paid time leave from year to year. That number will be 48 hours for part-time workers. Any unused hours at the end of the year above the limits will automatically be paid to hourly workers in the first paycheque every February. Previously, workers would just lose those days if they hadn't taken them.
  • Wal-Mart is offering a short-term basic disability plan for workers who need to be away for an extended time. Effective Jan. 1, the plan will pay 50 per cent of a worker's average weekly wage, up to $200, for up to 26 weeks.
  • Wal-Mart is also enhancing its short-term disability plan, which now will cost less than the company's prior voluntary plan and provide more coverage. Workers will receive up to 60 per cent of their average weekly wage with no weekly maximum for up to 26 weeks. Prior to that, the figure was 50 per cent.


Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Economists meet with Alberta officials, say worst appears to be over

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON - Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci met with key economists to look ahead to 2017, with the consensus being the worst is over for the provincial economy. But Avery Shenfeld, chief economist of CIBC, says how much things will improve is still up in the air and tied to the price of oil. Source
  • Dow Jones, S&P 500 rallies to record highs; TSX racks up 100 points

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Major North American stock markets pushed higher, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hitting record levels, as anticipation builds over the corporate policies of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 297.84 points at 19,549.62, while the S&P 500 added 29.12 points at 2,241.35. Source
  • Bovine TB: More cattle quarantined, but officials 'optimistic' worst is over

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - The quarantine of cattle in a western Canada bovine tuberculosis outbreak continues to grow, even as no new confirmed cases of the disease have been found. Officials say, however, they are cautiously optimistic that the number of animals quarantined may have peaked. Source
  • Commercial real estate sales hit quarterly record as investors hunt yields

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - Real estate firm CBRE says Canada hit a record level for commercial real estate sales in the third quarter and is on track to beat an annual record set during the 2007 boom. Source
  • Moose Knuckles reaches deal with Competition Bureau over 'Made in Canada' claims

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Winter jacket maker Moose Knuckles has reached a deal with the Competition Bureau regarding concerns over its advertising and labelling of certain parkas that are promoted as made-in-Canada. Under the agreement, reached through mediation, the company has agreed to donate $750,000 over five years to charities in Canada, such as those that provide winter coats to children in need. Source
  • Starbucks to boost number of shops, add more food to menu

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Starbucks, looking to the future as its longtime CEO moves to other projects, plans to open 12,000 new locations within five years to boost its number of coffee shops worldwide by almost 50 per cent. Source
  • TransCanada to proceed with $655-million northern Alberta natural gas pipeline

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- TransCanada Corp. says it's moving ahead with a $655-million expansion of its Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. system in northwestern Alberta. The company (TSX:TRP) says the Saddle West Expansion Project will add 29 kilometres of pipeline capacity to existing routes, as well as five compressor units, that together will increase the capacity of the system by about 355 million cubic feet per day. Source
  • N.B. to phase out coal, put price on carbon in new climate plan

    Economic CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The New Brunswick government will phase out coal as an electricity source under a new climate change plan that also puts a price on carbon. Premier Brian Gallant said Wednesday that climate change is the most important issue to face humankind in modern times and New Brunswick must do its part to combat it. Source
  • Starbucks planning to add 12,000 new outlets around the world

    Economic CBC News
    Starbucks plans to add 12,000 new locations over the next five years. (David Horemans/CBC News) Starbucks plans to open 12,000 new locations within five years, boosting the total number of its coffee shops worldwide by almost 50 per cent. Source
  • WestJet pilots union drive takes flight again

    Economic CBC News
    The Air Line Pilots Association has formalized its drive to unionize pilots at WestJet. After months of laying the groundwork, the U.S.-based international union said in a letter to pilots that it is collecting membership cards, and warns about a pushback from the Calgary-based airline. Source