Walmart Thanksgiving Pay: Sounds Good, But…

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The company cuts hours for the holidays, and then bases bonuses on those reduced hours. Is it fair?

Like most of the major retailers, Walmart now starts Black Friday on Thanksgiving. But how it pays people to work during one of the most hectic sales days of the year, on a family holiday — that’s a little different.

Target, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney and Toys R Us all pay workers time and a half for working holidays, CNNMoney says. Not Walmart:

Walmart gives employees a regular hourly wage plus additional pay for working the Thanksgiving holiday. The additional pay is equal to the average daily wage in the two weeks leading up to the holiday.

An extra day’s pay on top of regular wages? That sounds great — like double pay. Except Walmart tends to reduce hours during that two-week period, employees told CNNMoney. So let’s compare.

A Target associate who normally makes $10 an hour would make $15 an hour on Thanksgiving, regardless of whether she worked at all in the past two weeks. An eight-hour shift would produce $120.

A Walmart associate who normally makes $10 an hour would make $10 an hour on Thanksgiving, and get bonus pay based on her recent hours. If she’d been cut back to 34 hours a week leading up to the holiday — the minimum Walmart considers full-time — and got a similarly reduced six-hour shift, that would produce $128.

That’s pretty close, despite all the extra variables. But Walmart can easily reduce hours more than that around the holidays, resulting in lower holiday pay. It planned months ago to hire 55,000 temporary employees for the season, 10 percent more than last year.

Walmart associate Barbara Gertz told CNNMoney some associates in her store had their hours cut nearly in half, from 40 per week to 24, in the weeks after Thanksgiving. “Your paycheck either equals the same amount or it ends up being less,” she says.

On the bright side, CNNMoney says the company offers a holiday meal and 25 percent discount on an entire purchase to Thanksgiving workers — if they can afford anything.

Do you think Walmart’s holiday pay structure is fair, or should it pay the same way as everybody else? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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