Walmart is offering another round of bonuses to its associates and extending its emergency leave policy as the COVID-19 health crisis worsens across the country.
The big-box chain — widely considered the biggest retailer and private employer in the United States — announced that it would dole out bonuses to roughly 1.5 million full- and part-time workers on Christmas Eve. Store associates, as well as employees at its clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers are all eligible to receive the extra cash.
“As we come to a close on this historic year, I’m filled with gratitude for how our associates have led through one of the most trying periods for our company and country,” Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner said in a statement. “Our associates have stepped up to serve our customers, communities and each other when it was truly needed most, and we’re pleased to recognize their efforts.”
Sam’s Club president and CEO Kath McLay added, “This has been an extraordinary year, and we’re so proud of how our associates have continued to make a meaningful difference in our communities. Today’s bonus reflects our appreciation for our associates, who show up to work each day to serve and provide relief for millions of members across the country.”
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The move marks Walmart’s fourth cash bonus paid to U.S.-based workers since the onset of the pandemic. According to the company, this latest pay incentive totaled more than $700 million — including today’s estimated $388 million investment and another $319 million in quarterly bonuses that appeared in associates’ paychecks last Wednesday following a better-than-expected third-quarter performance. That would bring the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer’s bonuses for associates this year alone to upwards of $2.8 billion.
Similar to the structure of the previous three bonuses, part-time and temporary hourly employees will receive $150 on Dec. 24, while full-time hourly employees will take home $300. (More than 60% of Walmart’s hourly associates are full-time workers.) Drivers, coaches and assistant managers will also receive bonuses.
What’s more, Walmart has extended its COVID-19 emergency leave policy, which provides workers with up to 14 days of pay if they need to stay home due to coronavirus-related reasons, including mandated quarantines, symptoms or the illness itself. (If they’re not able to return to work after that two-week period, additional pay replacement may be provided for up to 26 weeks.) The policy is now effective through July 5, 2021.
The announcement comes a week after rival retailer Amazon shared that it would hand out bonuses to front-line associates who are working through the holiday shopping season. In a post on its website, the e-commerce behemoth announced that full-time workers employed from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 will qualify for an additional $300, while part-time workers are eligible for a $150 bonus.