Walmart To Raise Starting Wage To $11, Citing Tax Cuts

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Walmart will raise its starting wages and offer employees bonuses, citing the newly passed tax plan.

The increase will take effect in February, raising the country's largest employer's starting wage to $11, reports Bloomberg. The company will also offer bonuses to employees, including bonuses of up to $1,000 for employees who have worked at the company for 20 years.

"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.," said the company's CEO, Doug McMillon.

"We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders," McMillon added.

Walmart last increased its wages in 2015, when it increased the starting hourly rate to $9 and then to $10 the following year for employees who complete a training course.

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Spokesman Kory Lundberg said a "sizable group" of Walmart stores already pay $11 an hour as their starting rate because of minimum wage laws in certain states.

The company also plans to expand its parental leave and maternity policies. It will also create a benefit providing financial help to employees who are adopting a child, helping to cover adoption agency fees and legal expenses, according to CNBC.

While employees who have worked at the company for two decades or more will receive a $1,000 bonus, most employees will receive a smaller bonus, with the average coming out to about $190 among the chain's 2.1 million employees.

According to ThinkProgress, the one-time bonuses for Walmart employees will amount to a little over 2 percent of the tax cuts' value to the company.

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The company paid an effective federal tax rate of about 30 percent in fiscal year 2017 on its pre-tax profits of around $20.5 billion. The new tax plan's corporate tax rate of 21 percent will reportedly give at least $1.85 billion back to Walmart in profit each year, leading to more than $18 billion in savings for Walmart over the next decade.

The move also sees the company catching up with some of its competitors. Target previously announced that it was raising its minimum wage to $11 and pledged to raise it to $15 by 2020. Costco established a $13.50 minimum wage in 2016.

A list compiled by Americans for Tax Reform showed that about 55 companies announced one-time bonuses for employees after the tax plan passed. Along with Walmart, those bonuses make up just 0.13 percent of the tax cuts' value to corporations over the next 10 years.

Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC, ThinkProgress / Featured Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr / Embedded Images: 401(K) 2012/Flickr, Mike Mozart/Flickr

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