More than 3,000 of the 150,000 workers Walmart Inc. of Bentonville plans to hire through the end of May will be hired in Arkansas.
The company announced its plans to hire the 150,000 this past week, saying the additional workers would help it with a surge in online orders in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Company spokeswoman Anne Hatfield, the director of Walmart Global Communications, told Arkansas Business on Monday that the new employees in Arkansas, as with the hires countrywide, will work in stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers.
“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,” Hatfield said in an email. “We expect many of the temporary positions to convert to permanent roles over time. Also, it’s worth noting that we’ve expedited the hiring process and there are two easy ways for candidates to apply.”
Hatfield said potential employees can apply for Walmart positions online or by texting “jobs” to 240240.
The starting pay for the new hires will depend on the position and the market in which the employee is hired, Hatfield said. In May of last year, Walmart announced its minimum wage for new employees would be $11 an hour and that its average full-time field employee earned $14.26 an hour.
In its 2019 proxy filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Walmart reported its median employee earned $21,952 in fiscal 2018, which was an increase of 14.5% from the previous year. The company has not released its fiscal 2019 proxy.
Walmart also announced previously it would pay $550 million in bonuses to hourly workers at its Walmart stores, Sam's Clubs and offices and within its supply chain on April 2.
Hatfield said the company’s executive leadership is aware of the stress and anxiety created by the pandemic on Walmart’s front-line workers. She also said Walmart has waived its attendance policy through the end of April and has implemented a new Emergency Leave Policy.
“Early on, all associates were made aware of our commitment to make their physical and mental health our priority,” Hatfield said. “This means, if an associate determines they are unable to work or uncomfortable at work, they can choose to stay home.
“Everyone across the business has been in close and frequent contact with their leadership through team calls and individual conversations. Since this all started, our executives, including Doug [McMillon, Walmart CEO], have visited various locations to thank and encourage the associates committed to serving our customers.”
The policy, posted on the company’s website, said employees who feel uncomfortable working can receive time-off pay. If an employee or his or her workplace is quarantined, the employee will receive two weeks of pay without attendance penalties.
Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 will receive up to two weeks of pay. If the employee is unable to return to work after two weeks, an additional 26 weeks of pay is available.