Solid improvement displayed by the economy of the United States over multiple quarters in the recent past, along with considerable spending recorded by the consumers, has retail stores recognizing the benefits of increasing the rates of minimum hourly wages paid to their employees. One of the most popular retail chain stores to announce this change is Walmart. This step by the world’s largest retail company, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, has prompted other retail stores to mimic the rival company. The possibility of increase in minimum wages paid to their employees is expected to spread throughout the entire retail sector across the United States.
It has been reported that an increase in minimum hourly wage, is on the minds of many retail chain employers. Walmart plans to raise the wages for its close to half a million employees. Walmart reportedly has close to 1.4 million employees across the U.S. The retail giant proposes to increase the minimum hourly wage rate from $7.25 to $9. $7.25 is the minimum hourly wage rate necessitated by the federal government of the United States.
According to Walmart, increasing the minimum hourly wage rate compensation for the employees, would require the company to shell out an extra $1 billion this fiscal year. Even with President Barack Obama striving to work with Congress, to get the federal minimum wage rate per hour increased from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, it has remained stagnant at $7.25 an hour from the year 2009.
Many have glossed over the fact that numerous employees of Walmart, working full-time for the retail giant, are contingent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other federal government funding programs. Every year, various stores of Walmart conduct charitable food drives on holidays, to benefit the impoverished living in the community. Many people have received help from such food drives. This includes employees of Walmart, getting help due to their low income, failing to make their ends meet. Hence, Walmart’s decision to increase the minimum hourly wage rate for its employees is a welcome gesture.
With very reasonably priced products and the grandeur, Walmart is mindful of its high standing within the retail industry. Being a super center, Walmart, as a brand, associates itself to being a shopping destination where consumers meet all their demands under one roof. This is true for clothing, food, medicinal, or any other shopping demands. As a major player and an iconic brand in the U.S. retail industry, and the world’s largest retail corporation, Walmart’s decision to increase the minimum wages for its employees is considered a step in the right direction. As mentioned earlier, since it employs over 1.4 million American people, Walmart plays a big role in the economy, both local and national.
Over the years, Walmart has been hit by severe criticism regarding its meager wages and exploitation of workers. It has been pointed out, that a big section of these workers live hand to mouth, face harassment and are discriminated against at the workplace. The announcement that Walmart would increase the minimum hourly wage rate for its employees, is bound to be greatly beneficial for them and their families.
By Ankur Sinha