Why Walmart’s New Staff Bonus Scheme Falls Short

A new Walmart bonus program could benefit hundreds of thousands of workers, but some investor groups argue that it is still not enough.

New Walmart Bonus Program

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Affordable US retail behemoth Walmart has announced a new annual bonus program that will make both full-time and part-time hourly workers eligible for financial bonuses as high as $1000 per year.

All Hourly Workers

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In a press release on Wednesday, Walmart’s US CEO John Furner that the new bonus program will apply to hourly workers in the regular department stores as well as workers at Walmart pharmacies and Vision Center stores.

700,000 Workers Could be Affected

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The bonus program could provide a much-needed wage boost to as many as 700,000 US workers hired by the department store. 

The Longer They Stay, the Higher the Bonus

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The release clarified that “The longer an hourly store associate stays with the company, the higher their bonus potential, up to $1,000 a year.”

One-Year Commitment Required

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In a call to reporters, Furner also specified that only workers who have been with the company for atleast a year will be eligible for the bonus, and the store they work in must also hit certain performance targets.

Feedback from Workers

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According to Furner, the annual program was an idea born from feedback from numerous Walmart workers during a workplace survey. 

“Our Goal is Simple”

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“Whether we’re investing in compensation, learning and development, well-being, or resources for a simpler day at work, our commitment to associates is strong,” the press release read. “Our goal is simple: helping them live better at every stage of their careers.”

Wage Changes Over the Years

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It also pointed to the changes the corporation has made to worker pay over the last few years. Walmart hourly wages have increased by close to 30% in the past five years, as inflation and cost of living have soared since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Close to $18 an Hour

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Now, the company claims its hourly wage for part-time and full-time workers is close to $18. 

Other Benefits

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The release also pointed to a wide range of benefits for workers outside of hourly pay, including healthcare, childcare, and even adoption benefits for workers, as well as caring for “associates’ long-term financial health through our 401(k) and associate stock purchase programs.”

Other Programs Introduced

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It also announced several other new changes including an “Associate to Technician pipeline program” which helps workers to become qualified as skilled trade workers, as well as more extensive Walmart-paid education options.

New Bonus Scheme for Managers

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Back in January the company also announced a restructured bonus scheme for store managers, which could make some eligible for bonuses worth as much as 200% more than their annual salary.

Coming Under Scrutiny

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These announcements come at a time when Walmart and other major US corporations have come under scrutiny for ‘unfair’ wages and/or oppressive working conditions.

Falling Short

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“Walmart workers fall dramatically short of a living wage… and it fails to address the economic damage,” a representative of activist investor group The Shareholder Commons told Reuters following the program announcement.

New Compensation Policy Proposal

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The Shareholders Commons is also representing Legal & General Investment Management America, an investor group that has proposed a new compensation policy for Walmart workers that would ensure that their earnings can adequately cover living costs for families.

CEO Income Comparisons

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They also used the income of Walmart’s global CEO, Doug McMillon, as support, pointing out that he earns 933 times more than the median Walmart employee.

Massive Revenue 

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Last year Walmart also reported $648 billion in revenue and saw its market value shoot up to approximately $537 billion.

Low Median Compensation

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Meanwhile, the company’s median employee receives just $27,642 a year in compensation, according to a 2024 Walmart report.

Workers Living Below the Poverty Line

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That means that the average Walmart employee who supports a family of four or more is officially living under the poverty line, which is listed as anything below a $31,200 salary according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Walmart Argues Against New Compensation

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Still, Walmart executives urged shareholders to vote against the compensation policy proposal at the annual company meeting on Wednesday. It received just 4.4% of shareholder votes.

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The postWhy Walmart’s New Staff Bonus Scheme Falls Short first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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