Minimum wage increases across the country will cause Wal-Mart Stores to adjust salaries at 1,434 stores, or about one-third of its U.S. locations.
This is according to an internal memo that was sent to store managers earlier in December, which provided insight into how minimum wage increases in 21 states that will take effect around January 1st will impact the company, according to Reuters.
Thirteen states increased the minimum wage in 2014, up from eight states in 2012.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S. with about 1.3 million workers. The company’s operating model focuses on minimizing costs to attract customers with low prices. The company has struggled in recent years to increase sales after many lower-income consumers lost their jobs during the recession.
According to the memo, Walmart will narrow the gap in the premium paid to employees in higher-skilled positions like supervisors over lower-grade jobs. The three lowest pay grades — including cashiers, maintenance and cart pushers — will be combined into a single base rate.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Anonymous Walmart manager”]
Essentially that wage compression at the upper level of the hourly associate is going to help absorb that cost of the wage increase at the lower level.
Critics of Walmart, including many workers who are backed by unions, say the company pays workers too little and forces many to turn to government assistance, which effectively gives Walmart an indirect taxpayer subsidy.
The company has become the focus of activists seeking a higher federal minimum wage, which has been led by many aggrieved Walmart workers and advocates who have protested outside of stores.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said last month that less than 6,000 employees of the company are paid the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and Walmart plans to pay all employees more than the federal minimum wage. The company also said it does not oppose the Obama administration’s proposed national minimum wage increase to $10.10, according to CNN Money.
On January 1, Washington state will have the highest minimum wage in the United States. The minimum wage in Washington will reach $9.47 an hour, while neighboring Oregon will have its minimum wage rise to $9.25, the second highest in the country, according to ABC News.