Walmart starts bonus program for hourly workers

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Walmart, America’s largest private-sector employer, is starting a bonus program for its hourly employees.

The company said on Wednesday that the program will be aimed at rewarding employees who stay with the company long-term, with employees able to earn up to a maximum of $1,000 for those who have been with the company 20 years or more.

The company said any hourly store employee who has been with the company for a year or more is eligible for the bonus program, with those full-time employees with at least a year but less than five years getting an annual bonus of $350. The amount of the bonus then increases from there with seniority.

Walmart has an outsized impact on the labor market for hourly workers, and has been grappling with finding and retaining the workers it needs in a tight labor market. It said it has raised hourly wages by around 30% over the last five years and that its average US hourly wage now is close to $18. Its starting pay ranges from $14 to $19 depending on the store and local market.

A $1,000 bonus comes to just under 50 cents an hour for employees working a 40-hour week and equal to about 3% of annual pay for those full-time workers making that average hourly pay.

The company has 1.6 million US employees, of which nearly 1.5 million are hourly workers. It said this new program covers about 700,000 of those hourly employees who work in stores. Store managers and supervisors already qualified for a bonus program, which is paid out in March after the close of the company’s fiscal year at the end of January. Walmart boosted the average pay of its store managers from $117,000 to $128,000, or by just over 9%, the retailer announced earlier this year.

– CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.

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