Walmart announced Thursday it would use more than $350 million to pay cash bonuses to its hourly employees for working during the coronavirus outbreak.
According to MSN, the bonuses will amount to $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates. Every employee hired as of March 1 will be eligible for the bonus. Additionally, the supermarket chain will pay out a separate quarterly bonus to employees 30 days earlier than scheduled and plans on hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to fulfill increasing demand in stores, clubs, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers.
“Not only are we not laying off people, but we are in a position where we are also going to be hiring an additional 150,000 new associates,” Dan Bartlett, Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, said on a call with reporters. “They’re doing Herculean work in our stores and serving customers in frankly a tense environment.”
In order to hire that many people quickly, Walmart has streamlined its hiring process to 24 hours between filling out an application and being hired. Bartlett said the hiring spree “contributes a bit to easing the pain of this broader economic downturn that the coronavirus is causing.”
Business Insider is also reporting Walmart is working with the federal government to set up drive though coronavirus testing centers at its locations. Bartlett added that the first centers should be up and running within 72 hours.
“We have teams on the ground, we have tents, and everything’s ready,” Bartlett said. The sites are waiting on supplies of personal protection equipment and swabbing test kits to get up and running.”
Other supermarket chains are also contributing during the coronavirus outbreak. Stop & Shop has set specific hours for elderly and disabled customers to shop. Trader Joe’s has a bonus at each of its locations to share its increased profits with workers.
The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 200,000 people around the world. More than 89,000 have recovered and been released but more than 10,000 people have succumbed to the virus.