Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Amid the sweeping U.S. tax overhaul, Walmart said Thursday it's raising its hourly wage to $11, giving new bonuses to employees and expanding maternity and parental leave.
The retailer announced Thursday it would increase the wage and give certain workers a one-time cash bonus of $1,000, which will benefit more than 1 million employees.
"Today, we are building on investments we've been making in associates, in their wages and skills development," Doug McMillon, the president and CEO of Walmart, said Thursday. "It's our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families."
Employees with at least 20 years at Walmart will qualify for the bonus, the company said, and the wage hike will take effect Feb. 1.
Walmart said it will also provide adoption assistance to employees -- $5,000 per child that can be used for expenses like adoption agency and translation fees and legal costs.
Despite the gains, some workers may still struggle with an $11 hourly wage, which translates to $22,000 per year for a typical 40-hour work week. According to the U.S. Census, the federal poverty level for a family of four is $24,600.
"We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders," McMillon said.
"However, some guiding themes are clear and consistent with how we've been investing -- lower prices for customers, better wages and training for associates and investments in the future of our company, including in technology. Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S."