Walmart announced Thursday night that it plans to provide all associates in the United States with a special cash bonus for their hard work and dedication during the coronavirus.
“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” said Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”
The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2.
In addition to the special cash bonus, the company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain associates a month early. The early payout will add up to $180 million.
Overall, the bonuses will put nearly $550 million into associates’ pockets who, according to a 2019 Environmental & Social Governance report, earn an average wage of $14.26 per hour. Hourly Q4 bonuses were paid this week, meaning hourly associates will receive bonus payments on March 19, April 2, April 30 and May 28.
Walmart also said it will hire 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said McMillon. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”
These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time. The company also said that it will reduce the usual two-week application cycle to a 24-hour process.
Walmart, who has 1.5 million employees in the U.S. alone, is the largest employer in the world with 2.2 million employees.
This is the latest accommodation Walmart is making for its employees working during the coronavirus pandemic and comes just a day after the company said it would enforce item limitations for customers and create special shopping hours for seniors as a result of the coronavirus. Last week, the company announced an emergency leave policy to provide support to associates who are both indirectly and directly impacted by the virus.
The stock closed at $119.45 per share at the end of Thursday's trading session.