Walmart (WMT) announced plans to hike its average hourly pay to more than $17.50 on Tuesday.
In a statement to U.S. employees, Walmart U.S. CEO and President John Furner said "starting next month, we’ll begin investing in higher wages for associates."
He added: "This includes a mixture of associates’ regular annual increases and targeted investments in starting rates for thousands of stores, to ensure we have attractive pay in the markets we operate. We expect these raises will bring our U.S. average hourly wage to more than $17.50. They’ll be reflected in March 2 paychecks."
Walmart said the previous range for store employees in the U.S. was $12 to $17 per hour. The new range is $14 to $19 per hour. This brings the minimum wage closer to $15, which is the number CEO Doug McMillon told Yahoo Finance that it will "go beyond that probably over time." The national minimum wage stands at $7.25.
In addition to higher wages, Furner said the retailer is adding a higher-pay lead position at its Auto Care Centers (ACC) and "elevating" an ACC tech position to a higher pay scale.
Under its Live Better U (LBU) education program, Walmart is also adding new college degrees and certificates, available for both full and part time associates.
Furner also shared plans to expand its Associate-to-Driver Program. This program first opened to supply chain workers when it was introduced in 2022 and is now open to store employees as of last week. Walmart pays associates to earn their commercial drivers' licenses to become Walmart truck drivers. The potential salary in this role is up to $110,000 in the first year, the company said.
Shares of Walmart remained largely unchanged following the announcement in midday trading.
Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at email@example.com.