Walmart to Hire 150,000 Temporary Workers, Pay $550 Million in Bonuses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

March 20, 2020 Updated: March 20, 2020

Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, announced on March 19 that it plans to hire more than 150,000 temporary staffers and will pay a special cash bonus totaling $550 million to its hourly workers due to the growing CCP virus pandemic.

The retailer said on Thursday it would pay its full-time hourly workers a special cash bonus of $300 and part-time associates $150. Walmart’s next scheduled quarterly bonus will also be accelerated for store, club, and supply chain associates a month early, the company said.

Every hourly worker in the United States employed by March 1 will receive the special cash bonus payments on April 2.

“We felt this was a moment they needed to be provided some extra merit pay,” Dan Bartlett, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, told reporters. “They are doing herculean work in our stores serving our customers in frankly a tense environment.”

The extra temporary workers being hired through the end of May will be employed in Walmart’s stores, distribution centers, clubs, and fulfillment centers.

“These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time,” Walmart said in a news release. “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.”

Walmart, which currently employs 1.4 million hourly U.S. workers, added that it plans to speed up the application cycle time for hiring from the usual two weeks to 24 hours. The company said it is part of a new process to “dramatically expedite hiring” for key roles, such as cashiers and stockists.

“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”

A rush to stores by shoppers fearing quarantines or product shortages has cleared shelves, prompting retailers to boost stock of food and hygiene items, and have employees on hand for in-store work or delivery.

Amazon announced similar measures earlier this week, announcing it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States as the CCP virus outbreak boosts online orders. It also said it would raise pay for delivery and warehouse workers by $2 an hour through April.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Trump on Thursday suggested that the Chinese communist regime is to blame for the CCP virus, which has spread to more than 160 countries and territories around the world, killing thousands.

Human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was occurring from at least mid-December 2019 in Wuhan, according to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Jan. 29. The paper found that “there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019.”

Chinese authorities did not confirm human-to-human transmission until Jan. 20—almost three weeks after the disease was first officially reported on Dec. 31, 2019. The first patient reported with the virus exhibited symptoms on Dec. 1.

Cathy He and Reuters contributed to this report.