Walmart's recent decision to give a pay raise to its managers puts it ahead of some retailers who will soon have to pay overtime wages to more workers as a new federal mandate goes into effect.
The world’s largest retailer raised the starting wage for various managers from $45,000 to $48,500 at the start of September.
“These changes align with our commitment to invest in our associates and we wanted to make these changes before the busy holiday season,’’ said spokesman Kory Lundberg. “It’s always our goal to offer competitive starting rates, and we think the starting rate of $48,500 (a) year for our front line exempt store associates makes the best business sense for our company.’’
The pay boost for assistant managers and those overseeing various Walmart divisions, from auto care centers to store human resources, comes on the cusp of a new federal measure that will require the retailer and others to pay overtime to those earning salaries just beneath Walmart's new starting pay threshold.
The Department of Labor rule, set to go into effect on Dec. 1, will take the top salary under which executive, administrative and professional workers must be paid overtime from $23,660 to $47,476. Once the regulation kicks in, 4.2 million workers are expected to qualify for pay at the rate of time and a half once their work week passes 40 hours.
As of last month 21 states, along with dozens of business groups, were seeking to delay or block the measure, arguing that merchants need more time to prepare for the change and that the new requirement could force layoffs and other cuts.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has defended the new regulation, saying that overtime protections currently apply to just 7% of full-time salaried employees vs 62% four decades ago.