Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Capital One raises minimum wage to $15/hour

Capital One raises minimum wage to $15/hour

Walmart, the world's largest private employer, is boosting its starting salary for US workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000 to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said she would not comment on the Sam's Club closings but that the wage increases were a sign that the tax measures "are having the impact that we had hoped".

Around 50 of those stores will be shut permanently after a review of profitability and up to 12 more will be shut and reopened as e-commerce warehouses, the person said. The bonuses will also apply to workers at the Sam's Club locations that did not close.

Walmart announced years ago that it would actively manage its store portfolio as it strives to put a dent in Amazon's dominance online.

"We want to thank them", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Thursday afternoon.

News of the store closures, hours after the wage hike announcement, drew some criticism.

CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement that the retail giant is "early in the stages" of assessing the opportunities that last month's tax-reform bill created "to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business".

Walmart will also expand its parental leave policies.

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On Thursday, Walmart became the latest company to announce one-time bonuses related to the new tax law.

Adam Jones, an economics professor at UNC Wilmington, said the increase in minimum pay isn't surprising.

A worker prepares the frozen food section at a newly built Walmart Super Center prior to its opening in Compton, California, U.S., January 10, 2017. Back in October, before the tax reform bill passed, Target raised its wages to $11 an hour and committed to paying its workers $15 by 2020. The average wage is $13.18 as of July 31, 2017, according to its website.

"The fact is that Walmart is not permanently investing the estimated $2 billion it will receive annually from Trump's tax giveaway to its workers - it is keeping nearly all of it, " Randy Parraz, director of Making Change at Walmart, a campaign run by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said in a statement.

The company said the wage increase benefits all hourly USA workers at its stores, including Sam's Club.

Democrats have slammed the legislation, which also temporarily reduced tax rates for most individuals, as a giveaway to the wealthy that will widen the rich-poor income gap.

President Donald Trump has promoted this good news from Walmart and other companies as more proof of the benefits of the "TAX CUTS & JOBS ACT!" The Walmart U.S. segment includes its mass merchant concept in the United States operating under the Walmart or Wal-Mart brands, as well as digital retail. The company is also creating a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses.

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Walmart's president says the new tax law gives the company the opportunity to be more competitive globally.

The one time bonus for Walmart's hourly associates - including part-time workers - can range up to $1,000 for employees with at least 20 years at the company.

There are two Walmart supercenters in Killeen and two Walmart grocery stores.

"I can tell you that we're excited about the fact that they raised minimum wage".

A labor group called the higher pay a "substantial step", but said that it still fell short. The decision essentially increases wages for anyone making below $11.00 an hour - but anyone already making above that, the union argues, might not see anything except the bonus. Walmart employees previously started at $9 an hour, with a rise to $10 after completing a training program.

Walmart has invested $2.7 billion in higher wages and training for workers to lower turnover and make the shopping experience more appealing.

While the raises and bonuses are great for the workers, some economists warn against crediting tax reform, despite what the companies say. The amount of the bonus will be based on length of service.

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Shares of the company were down 0.02 per cent at $99.65 in morning trade.

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