Wal-Mart is giving 500,000 people a raise (WMT)

Myles Udland

Wal-Mart just announced that it would raise hourly pay for 500,000 of its associates.

By April, all hourly Wal-Mart employees will make at least $9 an hour.

By next February, all hourly Wal-Mart employees will make at least $10 an hour. 

In its earnings release, Wal-Mart said:

Approximately 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at Walmart US stores and Sam's Clubs will receive pay raises in the first half of the current fiscal year. Current and future associates will benefit from this initiative, which ensures that Walmart hourly associates earn at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage, or $9.00 per hour, in April. The following year, by Feb. 1, 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour.

Wal-Mart said that for the full year, it would spend about $0.20 per share in earnings on the new initiative to hire, train, and pay employees. 

In a letter to employees sent Thursday, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon added: "We’re also strengthening our department manager roles and will raise the starting wage for some of these positions to at least $13 an hour this summer and at least $15 an hour early next year."

According to its latest 10-K filed with the SEC, Wal-Mart employed about 1.4 million people in the US as of the end of its fiscal year 2014. 

In a statement, McMillon said:

Today, we announced comprehensive changes to our hiring, training, compensation and scheduling programs, as well as to our store management structure. These changes will give our US associates the opportunity to earn higher pay and advance in their careers. We're pursuing a comprehensive approach that is sustainable over the long term. By realigning our store operational structure, associates can enjoy a closer relationship with their supervisors. In addition, associates will have more control over their schedules. The investment in these initiatives is more than $1 billion for this fiscal year.

Wal-Mart's wage announcement came as part of its fourth-quarter earnings release, which showed results in the final quarter of 2014 coming in mixed.

Wal-Mart earned $1.61 per share — better than the $1.53 that was forecast by Wall Street — on revenue of $131.6 billion, which missed estimates.

On Wal-Mart's website, you can read the full letter McMillon sent to US employees on Thursday here »

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