Walmart to Hire 150K Workers, Offer $550 Million in Bonuses During Coronavirus Outbreak

Walmart will raise the minimum wage for its US employees to $11 an hour by February, pay $1,000 bonuses, and expand maternity leave, moves affecting more than a million workers that were made possible by the tax cuts approved last month
AFP/JOE RAEDLE

Walmart will hire 150,000 workers to meet rising demand during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the company said Thursday.

“As part of responding to the current environment, Walmart is also hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers,” the press release read.

At first, the positions will be temporary but many employees will transition to permanent roles later on. Walmart will also cut the application and hiring process down for cashiers and stockers from two weeks to 24-hours.

In addition, the company plans to give its employees cash bonuses as a thank you for their hard work during the health crisis.

“The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2,” the release said.

On Thursday Walmart stated it would also accelerate its employees’ next scheduled quarterly bonuses to get the cash to them sooner:

“Overall, it amounts to nearly $550 million going into associates’ pockets and the economy at this important time. Hourly Q4 bonuses were paid this week, meaning hourly associates will receive bonus payments on March 19, April 2, April 30 and May 28,” the release continued.

In a note to workers on Thursday, President and CEO of Walmart U.S. John Furner praised them for their dedication during the health crisis.

He wrote:

It’s been incredible to see Walmart associates step up to the challenge of serving America this month. During a very uncertain and stressful time, you have done your jobs with calm, compassion, and excellence. Because of you, Americans have been able to get the items and services they need from clean, orderly, stores — or delivered right to their doorsteps.

Thank you so much for devoting yourselves to your customers and communities. I also want to say thank you to your spouses and loved ones who’ve had to take on extra responsibilities during this time — particularly with many schools and daycares closed, and relatives and friends to look out for.

On a recent call with reporters, the company’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs Dan Bartlett said Walmart was pleased to offer help to those hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

“So, we see that as a two-for-one — it helps us meet the demands we are seeing within Walmart, but it also, hopefully, contributes to easing the pain of this broader economic downturn that the coronavirus has caused,” he concluded.

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