One of the major talking points of the current political climate is a need for a nation-wide raise on the federal minimum wage. Senators, mostly left-leaning ones, have been pushing for a blanket increase to a minimum wage of $15 an hour, but progress on that front has been slow. But while such a change is not currently mandated, some retailers have decided to take measures into their own hands.
Big-box retail chain Walmart reported its holiday season earnings today, falling notably short of Wall Street’s projections due primarily to COVID-19 woes. However, along with this less-than-stellar news came a slightly more optimistic announcement: Walmart is raising the average pay rate of its employees to $15 an hour. This will provide a substantial boost to at least 425,000 Walmart employees around the country.
To clarify, Walmart’s minimum pay rate is not being raised to $15 an hour, but the average is. The company’s introductory pay rate will still be $11 an hour, but the range of payments is being expanded to $13 to $19 an hour. This means the majority of floor employees’ pay rates will land around $15 an hour depending on their position and employment length, among other factors. This change will go into effect on March 13.
Walmart to hike wages for 425,000 workers to average above $15 an hour https://t.co/dlS9s5QaiU
— CNBC (@CNBC) February 18, 2021
In the face of other retailers like Target and Amazon opting for a flat increase, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that the company is opting for a slightly different approach. Hourly pays at Walmart locations are affected by where they are based, making a uniform increase more difficult. However, he expressed hopes that the company can be a “ladder of opportunity,” adding that a large portion of Walmart managers started as floor employees.
“We will raise our starting wage over time, and I think our history proves that,” McMillon said.