ILLINOIS - Recently, Walmart announced plans to increase the starting wage rate for all hourly associates in the U.S. to $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1,000. The company is also creating a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses. The combined wage and benefit changes will benefit the company’s more than one million U.S. hourly associates, including more than 34,600 Walmart associates in Illinois.

“We are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”

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Associates will continue to hear more from their managers in the coming days about details. But, broadly, associates in Illinois are receiving the following benefits:

  • A one-time bonus benefiting all eligible full and part-time hourly associates in the U.S. The amount of the bonus will be based on length of service, with associates with at least 20 years qualifying for $1,000. In Illinois, more than 34,600 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates are expected to be eligible for the one-time cash bonus, which is estimated to total $13,720,800.

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  • An increase in Walmart’s starting wage rate to $11 an hour, effective in the Feb. 17, 2018 pay cycle. The change is in addition to wage increases already planned for many U.S. markets in the coming fiscal year. The increase applies to all hourly associates in the U.S., including stores, Sam’s Clubs, eCommerce, logistics and Home Office. More than 20,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in Illinois are expected to receive a wage increase, which is estimated to total more than $32 million. Walmart’s new average hourly wage for full-time associates in Illinois will be $13.98.

  • An expanded parental and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly associates in the U.S. with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave.

  • Walmart will provide financial assistance to associates adopting a child. The adoption benefit, available to both full-time hourly and salaried associates, will total $5,000 per child and may be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.

“In Illinois, the retail industry employs one out of every five people, so investments in employees like Walmart’s play an important role in stimulating Illinois’ economic growth,” said Rob Karr, President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “We applaud efforts by retailers who find new ways to reward, recruit and retain workers through pay, benefits and career training opportunities.”

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