Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, has announced that it will raise its starting wage rate for hourly workers in the United States to $11, expand maternity- and parental-leave benefits, and provide a one-time $1,000 cash bonus to some employees. The announcement comes in the aftermath of a sweeping overhaul to federal tax laws. The retail giant’s previous starting wage was $9. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said Thursday in a statement. “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.” Muddying Walmart’s announcement, however, is the news that the company also closed at least 29 of its wholesale Sam’s Club stores the same day, laying off thousands of workers in the process.
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