BENTONVILLE, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Walmart announced expansions to its military leave of absence policy, offering differential pay to all eligible military associates taking on assignments lasting more than three days and through the duration of leave – including basic training. Walmart has offered differential pay since 2008. The enhancements, which go into effect June 24, mean that if an associate’s military salary is less than what they were making at their job at Walmart, the company will pay them the difference while they are on a military leave of absence. In 2016, Walmart associates took more than 4,400 military leave of absences.
Walmart is one of the first major retailers to apply differential pay to include basic training, so associates who are considering enlisting in the armed forces can make that decision without fear of losing wages. In addition, Walmart is taking steps to streamline and simplify the internal process required to obtain differential pay with the goal of making it easier on associates and their families, so they can spend less time on paperwork and more time on their service.
“At Walmart, we’re turning jobs into fulfilling careers for veterans, active service members and their families, and we’re making it easier for them to work, live and serve,” said Retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs for Walmart. “We believe that anyone who wants to serve in our Armed Forces should be able to do so without fear of losing wages or leaving their family in a lurch. The changes we’re making will remove financial barriers for all associates serving their country, including those who are starting their service journey through basic training.”
The changes build upon Walmart’s already-robust support for veterans, military members and their families.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, in 2016, more than 200,000 men and women serving in the military transitioned to civilian life, and many find it difficult to navigate multiple agencies offering job placement and other services. To date, Walmart hired more than 170,000 veterans since it announced its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013*. Of those veteran hires, more than 22,000 have been promoted to jobs with higher pay and greater responsibility.
On Memorial Day 2013, Walmart introduced the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, which guaranteed a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty. The initial goal was to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. In May of 2015, Walmart announced the expansion of that original projection, with the goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020. Walmart has also changed the eligibility from within 12 months of active duty, to any veteran who has been honorably discharged since the announcement of the commitment in May 2013.
In addition to its commitment to hiring veterans, Walmart also ensures their family members can build long-lasting careers. Walmart’s Military Family Promise guarantees a job at a nearby store or Sam’s Club for all military personnel and military spouses employed by Walmart and Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the United States military. Walmart also participates in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, recruiting tens of thousands of veterans through career fairs.
To recognize families who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Walmart is also announcing a $100,000 grant to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the national organization that offers help, hope and healing to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. The grant will enable TAPS to reach more survivors through their Casework and Emergency Assistance Programs.
“As a military widow, I know how isolating it can be to lose a loved one,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS president and founder and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. “The critically needed support provided by Walmart will enable TAPS to offer assistance to military families when they need it most, after the loss of their hero. We are grateful for our partnership with Walmart, which engages their employees across the nation and brings the strength of their brand to positively impact the lives of the families of America's fallen heroes. On behalf of over 70,000 surviving military families who receive support from TAPS, we thank Walmart for leading the way in caring for those who have sacrificed for our nation's freedoms."
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have a long history of supporting veterans, service members and their families. In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $20 million by 2015 to support veterans and their families with assistance for programs that provide job training, transition help and education. With the early completion of the commitment in May 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation renewed the commitment, announcing an additional $20 million through 2019 to support job training, education and innovative public/private community-based initiatives that address challenges many veterans face when returning to civilian life.
For more information about Walmart’s commitment to veterans, service members and military families, please visit: http://www.walmartcareerswithamission.com/ or http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/veterans-military-families/ and follow on Twitter @WalmartToday.
*Editor’s Note: These projections and reported hires/promotions include veterans hired under our original and expanded Commitment as well as other veterans hired by Walmart in this time frame. While we think it is particularly important to support service members as they make the transition to civilian life, Walmart believes all veterans deserve our respect and support, no matter when they left active duty.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.