The second phase of the pay increase for more than 1.2 million Wal-Mart U.S. and Sam’s Club associates will go into effect on Feb. 20, when the average hourly rate for full-time employees will rise to $13.38, and the average part-time hourly rate will be $10.58, the company said Wednesday.
The raise is part of the company’s two-year, $2.7 billion investment in its workers. In April, Wal-Mart increased its starting rate to $9 per hour for associates and raised associates earning below that level to $9.
The move was partly responsible for the company’s forecast that earnings will fall every year until 2019, including a 6 percent to 12 percent drop in 2017. The announcement of the earnings decline, which was made during the retail giant’s October investment meeting, sent Wal-Mart’s shares plunging 10 percent.
Wal-Mart said associates hired before Jan. 1 will earn at least $10 an hour. New entry-level associates will continue to start at $9 per hour. They’ll move to at least $10 per hour after successfully completing the company’s new retail skills and training program, called Pathways.
Associates already earning more than $10 per hour will get an annual pay increase in February rather than waiting until their anniversary date.
Employees earning below the new minimum will automatically receive the new minimum. Associates at or above their maximum pay level will get a one-time lump sum payment equal to 2 percent of their annual pay.
Making Change at Wal-Mart, an organization supported by the United Food Workers Union, said that after the retailer’s last wage increase, many workers “almost immediately saw their hours cut and take-home pay go down. It’s easier to find a unicorn than a Wal-Mart worker who has received a meaningful raise, or hasn’t had their hours cut.”
Wal-Mart said it’s implementing new short-term disability and simplified paid time off programs. The combined changes will expand support for associates dealing with extended health issues and provide associates greater control over their paid time away from work, the company said.
The retailer said its investment in associates is about more than wages and benefits. The company is creating new training programs that it said will create clear career paths from entry-level jobs to positions with more responsibility and higher pay.