Wal-Mart Raises Hourly Wage to $11 in Wake of Tax Overhaul

Wal-Mart Raises Hourly Wage to $11 in Wake of Tax Overhaul

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and private employer, said it would also offer a one-time cash bonus, based on length of service, of up to $1,000, and expand maternity and parental leave benefits.

"Today, we are building on investments we've been making in associates, in their wages and skills development", Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said in a news release. Workers who've been there for at least 20 years will get the full $1,000.

"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the USA", he added.

The changes affect more than 1 million hourly associates.

A company representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but local media in Texas, Chicago, New York and elsewhere were reporting that local stores were closing.

The Republican plan cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

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It will also help the retailer attract workers at a time when the United States unemployment rate is low - now 4.1 percent - and so competition for low wage workers is rising.

The nation's unemployment rate has sat at 4.1 percent for three months now, the lowest level since 2000. Currently, Walmart's starting wage is $9, which goes up to $10 once employees complete a training program.

The raise will increase the average hourly pay at Walmart for full-time employees from $13.85 to $14.50.

Walmart employs 2.3 million people worldwide, according to the company.

The retailer has spent about $2.7 billion to increase wages over the past few years. It has done well and strengthened its hand in online retail as many other retailers have struggled. Salaried employees will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave. The company is also creating a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses.

The firm's initial post-tax-reform announcement differs from that of competitor Target Corp., which said Tuesday that it would deploy additional cash flow from the tax law to "long-standing capital deployment priorities, including capital investments, dividends and additional share repurchase". Every company that announces something includes a $1,000 bonus.

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