Walmart Boosts E-Commerce Warehouse Worker Pay as Coronavirus Sparks Surge in Grocery Demand

Walmart is hiking pay for its e-commerce warehouse workers as it struggles to keep up with coronavirus-related demand.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail behemoth announced on Monday that it is raising pay at its fulfillment centers by $2 an hour through Memorial Day. Starting hourly wages at distribution centers will now be $17 to $18, while fulfillment center workers will receive from $15 to $19 per hour.

Additionally, Walmart announced that fulfillment center workers will receive a $250 bonus for referring a new worker to their facility. The new hire is also eligible for $250, with both bonuses to be paid after the new employee hits the 90-day mark.

Walmart’s pay bumps come after the chain announced last week plans to hire 150,000 additional workers, across its distribution and fulfillment centers and in its stores, to meet heightened demand amid the coronavirus crisis. The retailer also committed to paying cash bonuses of $300 to full-time workers and $150 to part-time workers. This applies to workers who were Walmart employed as of March 1; the payout will arrive on April 2.

Walmart twice announced last week that it would cut back on store hours to allow more time for associates to restock shelves as well as for increased cleaning and sanitization. The big-box giant has also taken measures to prevent sick employees from coming to work, including implementing an emergency-leave policy. Additionally, it has pledged $25 million to organizations on the “front lines” of fighting the coronavirus, such as food banks.

As Americans stock up on groceries and other household essentials amid the coronavirus crisis, Walmart is not the only company looking to hire. Rival Amazon announced last week it was seeking 100,000 delivery drivers and warehouse workers to keep up with increased demand; the Seattle-based e-tailer also said it would hike pay by $2 an hour for hourly employees in the U.S. and Canada. Just today, discount chain Dollar General said it was seeking to fill 50,000 new posts by the end of April. And Kroger, the nation’s biggest supermarket chain, added 10,000 positions in an effort to keep up with panicked shoppers.

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