Wal-Mart to give pay raises to most of its workers

Posted: January 20, 2016 at 1:04 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2016 at 2:42 p.m.

FILE - In this May 9, 2013 file photo, a worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Wal-Mart store in La Habra, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

NEW YORK — Most 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.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday said more than 1.2 million U.S. hourly workers will get wage increases 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 said 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.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.