Walmart will increase the minimum wage of store employees from $12 an hour to $14 an hour, according to a memo CEO John Furner posted to the company's website Tuesday. EPA-EFE/Michael Reynolds
Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Retail giant Walmart will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $14 an hour, according to CEO John Furner in a memo posted to the company's website Tuesday.
"Starting next month, we'll begin investing in higher wages for associates," reads the text of the memo from Furner. "We expect these raises will bring our U.S. average hourly wage to more than $17.50. They'll be reflected in March 2 paychecks."
The wage increase is expected to affect approximately 340,000 employees.
Store employees currently make between $12 and $18 an hour at Walmart locations and the increase means that by March they will make between $14 and $19 an hour.
Walmart will also be increasing the options for employees using the Live Better U program, which offers funding for employees tuition.
"We're adding new college degrees and certificates to our Live Better U (LBU) education program. These new options are focused on where our business is headed and will equip associates with skills to unlock new career opportunities," reads the memo from Furner.
The wage increase comes as many companies in the tech industry, including online retail giant Amazon, have laid off workers amid slumping performance.
Walmart still has tens of thousands of open store job listings on its website.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States with 1.7 million employees, 94% of whom are hourly workers.