Walmart is moving more of its workers to full time as the nation's largest private employer looks for ways to attract and retain employees. The company said Wednesday it plans to have two-thirds of its US store hourly jobs be full time with more consistent work schedules by Jan. 31, the end of its current fiscal year, the AP reports. That's up from 53% five years ago, the company said. With the move, Walmart will have 740,000 of its 1.2 million US Walmart hourly store workers working full time by early next year. Walmart employs roughly 1.5 million workers in the US, including those at Sam's Club, distribution centers, and in corporate and managerial jobs. Drew Holler, Walmart's senior vice president of U.S. people operations, said workers are demanding full-time jobs, which have better health and dental benefits. The exploding pickup and delivery businesses also are calling for more full-time jobs.
"We know offering more full-time opportunities along with skills training and equipping associates with tools to make work easier will help us continue to attract and retain top talent," Holler wrote in a blog. Walmart considers any employee working 34 hours or more a week full time, though anyone working 30 hours a week or more is eligible for health coverage. With team scheduling, Walmart workers will have consistent 39- to 40-hour schedules, the retailer said. But Walmart has been criticized by labor-backed groups and its own workers for lagging behind retailers like Target, Amazon, and Costco. Costco just raised its minimum hourly wage to $16, while the starting pay at Target and Amazon is $15 per hour. Walmart last raised its entry-level wages for US hourly employees to $11 in early 2018. Cynthia Murray, a 20-year associate in Hyattsville, Maryland, and member of United for Respect, a worker advocacy group, says she's encouraged that more workers at Walmart will be full-time. But she says the company needs to take “greater action to respect us."
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