Walmart rolls out new military employee pay policy

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Walmart rolls out new military employee pay policy

By Marianne Wilson - 05/23/2017

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart  is stepping up its commitment to its workers who serve in the military by covering the difference when an employee's military salary is less than what the person makes working at the store.

The discounter said it is expanding its military leave of absence policy, offering differential pay to all eligible military associates taking on assignments lasting more than three days and through the duration of leave — including basic training, to cover the difference in pay any time an employee's military salary is less than what he or she makes working at the store.

The enhancements, which go into effect June 24, mean that if an associate’s military salary is less than what they were making at their job at Walmart, the company will pay them the difference while they are on a military leave of absence. In 2016, Walmart associates took more than 4,400 military leaves of absence.

Walmart said it is one of the first major retailers to apply differential pay to include basic training, so associates who are considering enlisting in the armed forces can make that decision without fear of losing wages. In addition, Walmart is taking steps to streamline and simplify the internal process required to obtain differential pay with the goal of making it easier on associates and their families, so they can spend less time on paperwork and more time on their service.

“At Walmart, we’re turning jobs into fulfilling careers for veterans, active service members and their families, and we’re making it easier for them to work, live and serve,” said Retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs for Walmart. “We believe that anyone who wants to serve in our Armed Forces should be able to do so without fear of losing wages or leaving their family in a lurch. The changes we’re making will remove financial barriers for all associates serving their country, including those who are starting their service journey through basic training.”

Walmart has hired more than 170,000 veterans since it announced its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013, which guaranteed a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty. Of those hires, more than 22,000 have been promoted to jobs with higher pay and greater responsibility, the chain said. 

The initial goal of the initiative was to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. In May  2015, Walmart announced the expansion of that original projection, with the goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020. Walmart has also changed the eligibility from within 12 months of active duty, to any veteran who has been honorably discharged since the announcement of the program in May 2013.

Walmart is also announcing a $100,000 grant to the Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS), the national organization that offers help, hope and healing to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. The grant will enable TAPS to reach more survivors through their casework and emergency assistance programs.