Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said Thursday (March 19) it plans to hire 150,000 hourly associates in the U.S. and announced $550 million in cash bonuses to reward workers amid the (COVID-19) coronavirus pandemic.
The retail giant said it will pay hourly store employees a small cash bonus of $300 to $150, depending on full or part-time. Every employee as of March 1 will qualify for the bonus, to be paid on April 4, which will total more than $365 million.
Walmart said it is accelerating its next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain employees a month early to also pay out in April, to put more money into the hands of employees.
The company said it will pay the bonuses as if the company achieved its first-quarter plan. At the regularly scheduled time for bonus payout in May, that amount may increase for employees based on performance. Walmart said in no case will an eligible associate receive less than the first quarter plan bonus payment. The early payout will add up to $180 million and again be of use sooner by retailer’s 1.4 million employees.
“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, 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.”
The company also said it plans to hire more than 150,000 hourly employees in the U.S. through the end of May to keep up with increased shopper demands.