by Max Brantley
More than 1.2 million Walmart and Sam's Club associates will receive a pay increase in 2016, the company announced Wednesday.
Walmart says the raise is part of the "second phase" of the company's $2.7 billion investment in workers. The raise is set to take effect February 20th, and Walmart calls it "one of the largest single-day, private-sector pay increases ever."
Under the increase, all associates hired before January 1st, 2016 will earn at least $10 per hour. New entry-level associates will start at $9 per hour and move to $10 an hour through training.
Associates already earning more than $10 per hour will receive an annual pay increase in February, rather than waiting for the anniversary of their hiring.
Walmart says when the changes go into effect, the company's average full-time hourly wage will be $13.38 per hour.
The company also says it is streamlining vacation, sick leave, and personal time off for associates, as well as adding a new short-term disability program.