Walmart Canada giving employees ‘appreciation’ bonus

Walmart Canada Corp. is giving new cash bonuses to its employees, saying the “appreciation bonus payment” recognizes their ongoing dedication during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move follows similar announcements made by other companies in recent weeks, including Sobeys Inc., and could put pressure on more retailers to offer so-called hero pay to essential workers as the second wave of the pandemic worsens. Walmart said more than 85,000 employees will receive the additional payment on Dec. 11, with full-time employees expected to receive $250 while part-time staff would receive $150.

Read: Sobeys bringing back pay premiums, LifeLabs giving hero recognition bonuses

Horacio Barbeito, president and chief executive officer of Walmart Canada, said the store’s associates have stepped up “in true Walmart spirit” to serve customers during extraordinary times. “Every day, I hear stories about our associates going above and beyond and I am proud and grateful,” he said in a statement. “It continues to be a privilege and a tremendous responsibility to be providing an essential service for our communities.”

In March, the company had provided workers with an appreciation bonus of $200 for full-time workers and $100 for part-timers. It also paid a “thank-you premium” of $2 an hour on top of regular hourly rates for workers in April and May. The announcement by Walmart Canada that it would pay a December bonus comes a day after Walmart in the U.S. said it would be giving its 1.5 million workers a special bonus.

Read: Home Depot expanding paid time off, doubling overtime pay

On the heels of Walmart Canada’s announcement, Dollarama Inc. also announced this week it will pay a bonus to its employees for their work during the pandemic as it raised its dividend and reported its third-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago. Full-time employees will receive $300, while part-time workers will receive $200.

Pressure has been mounting on essential retailers on both sides of the border to reinstate hero pay or extend bonuses to employees working during the busy holiday season. The United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, one of the country’s largest private-sector unions, has called on grocery stores to reinstate the $2-an-hour wage bump for its frontline workers, saying the hero pay acknowledges their courageous efforts.