Christmas is behind us, but for workers at the nation’s largest private employer, the giving season continues.
Walmart will spend hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars on wage increases, bonuses, and expanded benefits for parents this year thanks to tax reform. That is especially great news for the big labor force of women at Walmart.
Walmart announced it is raising its starting wages from $9 to $11 an hour. Over the past two years, Walmart has raised its hourly wages, in part, to keep up with rising state minimum wages.
The company will also hand out one-time cash bonuses ranging from $200 to $1,000 for some part-time and full-time positions depending on seniority. In addition, Walmart is giving full-time hourly workers 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of parental leave. It will also offer $5,000 per child in adoption benefits to full-time hourly and salaried employees.
Walmart’s moves are expected to affect more than 1 million employees in the U.S. Women working as associates and in other low-paying positions especially stand to gain. Women make up over half (56 percent) of associates, 43 percent of managers, and a third (31 percent) of officers according to a 2016 corporate report.
The impetus for all of this is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed into law just before Christmas. Corporate tax rates were slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent and now companies like Walmart are following through on expectations that businesses will pass those savings on to employees.
Walmart’s leadership explains:
“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Walmart, said in a statement. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”
Walmart joins a wave of companies that have announced bonuses, wage increases, and investments in their businesses – all of which benefit American workers. They include Comcast, AT&T, JetBlue, Boeing, and a host of financial institutions including Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
There's also today news that utility companies are passing on the savings from tax reform to customers through lower rates or credits on their bills.
This is more evidence that when Washington cuts corporate taxes, American workers win with bigger paychecks, lower prices, and better-paying opportunities.