Walmart has extended the emergency leave policy for U.S. hourly employees who have taken time off related to COVID-19. Leave has been extended to July 5, the same time frame Walmart said it planned to keep corporate office employees working remotely.
The retail giant made the announcement Friday (Dec. 4), along with news of an additional $700 million in cash bonuses for employees be paid on Dec. 24. This cash bonus is on top of the retailer’s typical quarterly bonus. Walmart said full-time employees will get $300 and part-time employees will be receive $150 for the special holiday bonus. The retailer said about 1.5 million of its Walmart, Sam’s Club and supply chain employees will get the special cash bonus.
Walmart said it also paid a quarterly bonus totaling $9.1 million to Arkansas employees on Nov. 25.
“As we come to a close on this historic year, I’m filled with gratitude for how our associates have led through one of the most trying periods for our company and country,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “Our associates have stepped up to serve our customers, communities and each other when it was truly needed most, and we’re pleased to recognize their efforts with a quarterly bonus for strong store performance and a fourth special cash bonus.”
Walmart has been criticized by consumer interest groups and unions in the past for paying low wages. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took Walmart to task at 2019 shareholder meeting calling on the retail behemoth to raise minimum pay to $15 per hour. In late October, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said too much emphasis is put on the starting wage.