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Walmart boosts starting pay

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Wal-Mart to Increase Starting Wages to $11

McMillon also announced an increase in financial assistance for employees adopting children.

Indeed, Walmart announced a pay raise and bonuses for all of its workers Thursday to a minimum of $11 an hour, attributing the increase directly to the bill's corporate tax cut. Before, full-time hourly workers received 50 percent of their pay for leave.

Along with the headline unemployment rate, a broader measure of joblessness that includes discouraged workers who have largely stopped job-hunting, as well as those only able to find part-time jobs, stood at 8.1 percent at the end of 2017.

The announcement pegs the question how will this affect competitor retailers.

"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.", Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday.

Walmart announced today that they will be increasing their starting wage to $11 an hour because of the recently passed tax bill. "Companies may want to attribute it to the tax change, but they might have had to increased wages even in the absence of a big tax change".

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.

Walmart isn't the first company to shower a nice public thank you on the GOP tax plan.

The change, which will go into effect in February, raises Walmart's minimum wage from its current level of $10.

Rising wages reflect a generally tight labor market.

The retailer also said it was expanding maternity and parental-leave benefits, as well as creating a new benefit to assist with adoption expenses.

But it wasn't all good news. Business Insider reported 63 units were set to close. In a tweet, the company said the closures would help "better align" its physical locations with its strategy. The increase is expected to lift average hourly pay for the retailer's full-time USA store employees to $14.50 from $13.85, according to The Wall Street Journal. Previously, full-time hourly workers were eligible for up to eight weeks of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid parental leave, while hourly workers received half pay during family leave.

Boeing, AT&T, Wells Fargo, and Comcast have all said they were either investing more in the USA or offering perks to employees, from bonuses to minimum wage boosts to other investments in employee development.

News of Walmart's investment was cheered by supporters of the tax plan, which slashes the US corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and includes other features expected to lead to windfall profits for companies.

U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin also praised Walmart's decision to raise wages. A company official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the decision publicly said about 10 are being repurposed into e-commerce distribution centers. The retailer has spent about $2.7 billion to increase wages over the past few years, which has helped in improving customer service and keeping its stores clean.

"We don't have a Walmart, but we certainly have folks that work at Walmart, and I know we have folks who shop at Walmart", Hitt said.

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