Walmart is changing the initial hourly pay structure for certain store associates as a cost-cutting measure as the job market slows and shopping habits return to pre-pandemic levels.
During the coronavirus pandemic, several companies saw a surge in grocery and e-commerce sales. However, many shoppers have returned to pre-pandemic shopping habits, such as visiting more stores and shopping less online, leading to a slowdown in e-commerce sales.
Walmart has cut starting salaries for new store employees who pick and pack online orders and those who restock shelves, according to a Wall Street Journal report. These associates help prepare orders for store pickup or delivery to customers’ homes and replenish items on shelves.
According to the media, the changes came into effect in mid-July. New Walmart employees joining the digital or warehouse teams are now making about a dollar an hour less than if they had been hired a few months ago.
Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield said no current employees in those positions suffered pay cuts. As part of the July change, Walmart also changed pay levels for more experienced employees, resulting in a raise for about 50,000 store employees, Hatfield said, according to CNBC.
Hatfield also noted that the new pay structure will not change Walmart’s minimum hourly wage of $14 or result in pay cuts for existing employees.
In a statement, Walmart said it made the change so that starting pay would be the same regardless of whether a store associate worked checkout, stocked shelves or helped with online orders (via CNBC).
“A consistent starting salary leads to consistent staffing levels and better customer service, while creating new opportunities for employees to learn new skills through in-store experiences and lay the foundation for their careers,” regardless of where they start, it says Explanation.