Walmart announced on Thursday evening that it was planning to hire even more employees than Amazon as the two companies struggle to keep up with an explosion in demand due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which originated in China.
In a statement, Walmart wrote:
As part of responding to the current environment, Walmart is also hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time. We’ve reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time.
The company said that is was implementing a new process to “dramatically expedite hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers.”
Walmart also announced a special bonus for those who are currently working with the company “in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis.”
“The bonus is for all U.S. hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices. The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million,” the statement said. “Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2.”
“In addition to that special bonus for hourly associates, the company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain associates a month early,” the statement continued. “When it pays out in late April, it will help provide more cash in hand for associates sooner. The company will pay those bonuses as if the company achieved its first quarter plan. At the regularly scheduled time for bonus payout in May, that amount may increase for associates based on performance. In no case will an eligible associate receive less than the first quarter plan bonus payment. The early payout will add up to $180 million.”
“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”
“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 continued. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”
The announcement comes after Amazon announced earlier this week that it was planning on hiring 100,000 new employees to meet the explosion in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Amazon plans to deploy the new workers to fuel e-commerce deliveries and is raising pay for these employees in the U.S. and Canada by $2 an hour through April,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “In the U.K., it will go up £2 an hour and approximately €2 an hour in many EU countries. Amazon currently pays $15 an hour as a starting wage to workers in its fulfillment centers around the U.S.”
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations.
This report has been updated to include additional information.