Walmart will provide its hourly employees with cash bonuses and will hire 150,000 temporary workers at least through May, reports WKRG-TV in Mobile, AL. The move comes as the U.S. economy desperately needs an influx of consumer spending, and is hemorrhaging jobs, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the company said that on April 2, all of its hourly employees will receive a cash bonus based on their designation. Full-time hourly employees will get a bonus of $300, while part-time associates will receive a $150 bonus. In total, the company expects to spend about $350 million on bonuses.
Those April bonuses are in addition to bonuses that many Walmart employees were already scheduled to receive in May.
"Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times. We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us," said Doug McMillon, President and CEO.
Additionally, the company plans a major hiring push, hoping to bring on 150,000 new employees to work at its stores, discount clubs, and distribution centers. At the very least, those temporary jobs will last through the month of May, but the company promises that many of those temporary positions will be reworked into full-time positions."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," McMillon said.
The company is so eager to hire new employees that their application process is being expedited. What normally takes a couple of weeks is being streamlined to get workers into stores within 24 hours of applying.
The hiring push comes as the U.S. economy is beginning to feel the devastating effects of the worldwide coronavirus quarantine. Unable to travel or congregate in groups, Americans aren't spending money at bars, restaurants, stadiums, or within multiple other industries; and the resulting layoffs have already begun. According to Buzzfeed News, so many people are applying for unemployment benefits that some states' Department of Labor websites are crashing.
The company also appears to be doing its part to accommodate employees' needs during this difficult time. According to a statement on the Walmart website, employees who don't feel up to coming to work can stay home without their absence counting against the company's attendance policy. Those in cities where mandatory shelter-in-place orders make it illegal to commute to work are still being paid.