Walmart offering another round of bonuses as pandemic rages on

Walmart will give its 1.5 million workers across the U.S. a fourth financial bonus later this month for working during the pandemic as COVID-19 cases soar. 

The world’s largest retailer will make $ 300 cash payments to full-time employees and $ 150 to part-time workers on Dec. 24 “in recognition of associates’ sustained commitment to customers during the pandemic,” Walmart said in a statement.

Walmart has spent more than $ 2.8 billion on extra pay since the coronavirus hit, the company said. 

Walmart Canada on Friday said its 85,000 workers would get a bonus December 11, with $ 250 coming to full-time associates and $ 150 to part-time workers. In March, they received bonuses of $ 200 and $ 100, respectively.

The moves come a week after Amazon said it would spend more than $ 500 million on bonuses for frontline workers to recognize their efforts during the holiday season. 

Like Walmart, Amazon is giving full-time workers $ 300 and part-time employees $ 150 so long as they are employed at the company for all of December. The payments follow one-time bonuses of as much as $ 500 in June. 

Both companies, along with other major retailers, have drawn fire for ending so-called hazard pay for employees who have continued to work during the pandemic.

Labor advocates say frontline workers remain potentially at risk from COVID-19 and deserve additional compensation They also note that some large retailers have booked record sales this year as consumers, holed up at home, stocked up on goods.

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Walmart and Amazon could have quadrupled the hazard pay given their workers and still earned a bigger profit than last year, according to research by Brookings, a liberal-leaning nonprofit public policy group. 

United For Respect, a nonprofit group focused on the rights of retail workers, on Friday dismissed Walmart’s latest bonuses as a ploy to deflect calls for continued hazard pay during the public health crisis. 

The extra cash offered by the company is like a “band-aid on a bullet wound as frontline retail associates, warehouse workers, delivery drivers and others face the pandemic and the holiday rush, head-on,” Cynthia Murray, a 20-year Walmart employee and United for Respect leader, said in a statement issued by the group.

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