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Walmart to spend $11.8 million to boost pay, benefits in NM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Retail behemoth Walmart has said its recently announced pay and benefit increases will mean an investment of more than $11.8 million in New Mexico and will impact nearly 10,000 employees here.

The company said earlier this month it would boost starting pay for employees across the country to $11 and give some workers a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000. It also announced expanded parental leave and adoption benefits for full-time hourly employees.

“The team as a whole is really excited,” said Nico Vassol, manager of the Walmart at 400 Eubank NE in Albuquerque. “We feel heard and appreciated.”

The same day it announced the pay increases, Walmart began closing dozens of its Sam’s Club warehouses and converting others to distribution centers for online orders. The company confirmed that no Sam’s Clubs in New Mexico were affected.

A Walmart spokeswoman told the Journal that the wage increase will affect 5,300 Walmart employees in New Mexico. A total of 9,800 employees here qualify for the cash bonus, a group that also includes some employees who will benefit from the wage increase. The company estimates the changes will cost $11.8 million here.

There are 14,486 Walmart employees in New Mexico, according to the company.

The starting wage for employees is $9, with a jump to $10 after the completion of a training period. The new wage goes into effect in February and does not include a change after training.

The average hourly Walmart wage in New Mexico will be $14.38 an hour after the increases go into effect, according to Walmart.

Employees are eligible for the cash bonus if they have spent at least two years with the company and are at the level of assistant manager or lower. With at least two years of experience, employees are eligible for $200, with increasing amounts up to the full $1,000, which is for employees who have spent at least 20 years with the company.

Under the company’s new benefits policy, full-time hourly employees will have 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave; salaried associates will have six weeks of paid parental leave. Full-time hourly and salaried associates can also receive up to $5,000 in financial assistance to support adoptions.