Walmart today announced plans to give its hourly employees another cash bonus amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer will be paying out over $390 million to hourly associates, including staff in stores and offices as well as delivery drivers and supply chain workers. Full-time employees will get $300, while part-time and temporary associates will receive $150. Assistant managers in stores and clubs will also be eligible for the bonuses. To qualify, associates must be employed as of June 5; they will receive the payments on June 25.
“Walmart and Sam’s Club associates continue to do remarkable work, and it’s important we reward and appreciate them,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. All across the country, they’re providing Americans with the food, medicine and supplies they need, while going above and beyond the normal scope of their jobs — diligently sanitizing their facilities, making customers and members feel safe and welcome, and handling difficult situations with professionalism and grace.”
Last month, Walmart paid out similar cash bonuses for hourly workers across its stores, distribution centers and offices, spending $365 million on the effort. The big-box chain additionally paid out first quarter bonuses to employees early for another $180 million. In total, the corporation says it has committed over $935 million to associate bonuses this year, including the payments announced today.
To keep its workforce and customers safe from the coronavirus, Walmart said it has implemented a number of measures. The retailer reduced store hours to allow for more cleaning and restocking; installed social distance markers and sneeze guards in stores; is checking employee temperatures; and making gloves and masks available to its associates. It also announced in early April that it would reduce store capacity to about 20% to allow for social distancing.
Despite these measures, Walmart has received backlash from some persons for what they perceive to be inadequate COVID-19-related precautions. Last month, four United States senators — Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown and Richard Blumenthal — penned a letter urging Walmart to improve safety for its front-line workers following reports that several employees have died of the coronavirus. Further, a wrongful death suit — alleging that Walmart failed to implement proper health and safety standards to protect its workforce — has been filed in Illinois by the family of a Walmart store worker who died after contracting COVID-19.