Just as the major retail chain announced this happy news for families, they noted that they'll be laying off thousands of employees from Sam's Club.
Walmart has given many families much to celebrate, while also dealing a difficult blow to others. The retail chain, which also happens to be the largest private employer in the country, announced in a statement that they will begin to offer parental leave for full-time hourly associates.
Hourly employees will now get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave, the same as salaried associates. Previously, they only got six to eight weeks of maternity leave at half pay, and there were no benefits for fathers, many same-sex couples, and adoptive parents.
Walmart noted that they will also begin offering financial aid to associates adopting a child. "The adoption benefit, available to both full-time hourly and salaried associates, will total $5,000 per child and may be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs," according to the company statement.
More happy news for not just parents but all of the company's employees: Walmart is bumping their starting wage rate to $11 an hour (from $10), effective in the Feb. 17, 2018 pay cycle. "The change is in addition to wage increases already planned for many U.S. markets in the coming fiscal year," the company. "The increase applies to all hourly associates in the U.S., including stores, Sam’s Clubs, eCommerce, logistics and Home Office."
Meanwhile, Walmart is closing 63 Sam's Clubs stores, according to Business Insider. This closings occurred so abruptly that many employees showed up to work only to learn about the news by reading signs posted on the stores' entrances.
10 of the stores will be come e-commerce distribution centers, and their employees will be able to reapply for positions at those locations. Still, many Sam's Club employees are likely beside themselves today.
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No word on if the Sam's Club decision is at all related to the newly announced benefits. Ultimately, it's heartening to hear that Walmart is taking these steps to show they support families. With hope, 2018 only serves to deliver more uplifting news for the company's many employes nation-wide.