Walmart, Second-Largest Employer in the U.S., Wildly Expands Its Parental Leave Policy


Shopping carts at Walmart


Nicole Sheinzok via Working Mother
Nicole Sheinzok via Working Mother

But that's not the only thing that's about to change at the big-box retailer.

Walmart announced this morning that they'd be extending their paid leave policy in a big way. They're crediting the approval of a new tax law, signed last year, which is saving corporations a LOT of money in taxes.
In a letter posted to the company's blog, CEO Doug McMillon writes that Walmart will start to provide full-time hourly associates with "10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave."
The policy extension would also make parents who adopt eligible for the benefit. McMillion, who says the company will contribute $5,000 to the cost of adoption, writes, "Families are a priority to us and connecting with and caring for a new family member is obviously important."
As NPR reports, prior to the announcement, only salaried workers were eligible to receive fully paid family leave from the company. Hourly associates, meanwhile, only received half pay when they took leave.
The update has the potential to help many more of the retailer's workers who are looking to start or add another member to their family, since upwards of 50 percent of hourly workers across Walmart's companies, including Sam’s Club, logistics and eCommerce hourly associates in the U.S., work full-time and would be eligible for the benefit. A rep for Walmart confirmed to that this percentage is expected to hold steady throughout 2018.
The company's policy for paid leave isn't the only thing that's about to change. In the letter, McMillon also writes that starting next month, Walmart will be increasing minimum hourly wages to $11 an hour for employees at Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, Supply Chain, eCommerce and Home Office. The company's previous starting hourly rate has been $10 an hour, which Walmart implemented in 2016, according to Forbes.
What's more, the retailer will be providing "a one-time bonus to hourly associates that pays a larger amount the longer you’ve been with our company," ranging from $200 to $1,000. However, it appears that the bonus might only apply to associates who don't benefit from the new starting wage increase.
Noticeably absent from the CEO's letter was any mention of Sam's Club closures, which also happened today. As Business Insider reports, the company seems to be abruptly closing 63 of its Sam's Club stores, leaving thousands jobless as a result.
This article originally appeard on Working Mother.