Walmart invests $550M, Target $300M in employees on coronavirus front lines

Sweeping packages include hourly wage hikes, bonus payments, special benefits


Russell Redman, Supermarket News 

Mar 20, 2020


Walmart plans to pay U.S. hourly workers a special cash bonus as part of a $550 million package in support of their extra efforts to serve customers during the coronavirus pandemic.


Meanwhile, Target announced it will invest more than $300 million in an hourly wage increase, bonus payments, paid leave and an employee relief fund for “significant contributions its frontline team members are playing during an incredible time of need.”


Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said late yesterday it will pay a cash bonus of $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices on April 2. All hourly staff employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify for the bonuses, which will total more than $365 million.


In addition, Walmart will pay its next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain associates a month earlier, in late April, so associates have more cash in hand sooner. The company also said the regularly scheduled bonus payout in May may reflect an increase, based on performance. The early payout program will total $180 million.


Walmart noted that, overall, nearly $550 million will be “going into associates’ pockets and the economy at this important time.” Hourly fourth-quarter bonuses were paid this week, with hourly associates slated to receive bonus payments on March 19, April 2, April 30 and May 28, the company said.


“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”


To help handle the increased demand on stores — as customers in communities nationwide lock down to slow the spread of COVID-19 — Walmart also aims to hire 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. The company said many of these temporary jobs will convert to permanent roles over time.


Walmart also has reached out...