Walmart to offer bonuses to keep warehouse workers on the job through the holidays

  • Walmart’s warehouse workers will get weekly bonuses, as the retail giant competes in a tight labor market and ramps up for the holiday season, the company told CNBC.
  • A growing number of retailers and restaurants have been dangling new perks to recruit and retain employees.
  • Walmart faces tough year-over-year comparisons and may also cater to more e-commerce orders because of the rise of the delta coronavirus variant and changed consumer habits.

© Provided by CNBC A Walmart package is unloaded from a trailer to be sorted at a FedEx ground hub in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Walmart is giving weekly bonuses to warehouse workers, as the retail giant competes in a tight labor market and ramps up for the holiday season, the company told CNBC.

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The discounter is offering additional pay, based on the facility’s location and the worker’s role and shift. For some full-time workers, that will add up to $200 more per week and could be more if they work overtime, according to Walmart spokesman Scott Pope. That extra pay began this month and will continue through the fiscal year at the majority of distribution and fulfillment centers, he said.

Walmart’s warehouse workers already have higher pay than store associates. Employees in distribution and fulfillment centers had an average hourly wage of $20.37, excluding drivers, higher than the average wage of $14.61 for Walmart U.S. at the end of 2020, according to the company’s environmental, social and governance report. The company has since increased wages. As of March 2021, the company said the average hourly wage in the U.S. is over $15.25 per hour.

The bonuses were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Walmart is country’s largest private employer with 1.6 million employees. It is part of a growing number of retailers and restaurants that have stepped up pay, dangled new perks and tweaked recruitment and retention strategies in recent weeks. Many companies have spoken of their struggles to fill jobs, amid an reopening economy. They’ve attributed the labor shortage to a wide range of factors, including concerns about Covid-19, a lack of child care and supplemental unemployment payments.

For Walmart, the added pay is also intended to get ahead of the rush of the holiday shopping season — and make sure store shelves and warehouses are stocked, Pope said.

Walmart faces challenging year-over-year sales comparisons after strong sales during the pandemic. Plus, with the rise of the delta variant and changing consumer habits, more shoppers may want to ship packages to their doors or pick them up in the parking lot.

Walmart shares are up less than 1% so far this year. In trading early Friday, shares were up less than 1%.

CVS Health said earlier this week that it will boost pay for workers and drop education requirements, such as having a high school diploma or GED requirement to qualify for most entry-level roles. It said it would raise its minimum wage from $11 to $15 an hour as of July 2022.

Target rolled out a new perk this week, too: A debt-free college education for full- or part-time employees, which will begin in the fall. The company will also help fund graduate degrees. Walmart, which already has a similar education benefit, recently said it is dropping a $1 a day fee and will pay 100% of college tuition and textbooks.

Target also recently announced a $200 bonus for all of its approximately 340,000 hourly workers, which will be paid out this month. The company said investments total $75 million.

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