These companies announced wage hikes, bonuses, benefits in afterglow of Trump tax reform

January 11, 2018 YAHOO Finance logo

Over 80 companies have publicly announced bonuses, wage increases or other kinds of benefits they’re offering employees since President Donald Trump signed tax reform into law on Dec. 22.

Walmart (WMT) is the latest to credit the lower corporate-tax rate as a reason to reinvest the saved capital into its workforce. The world’s largest private employer announced on Thursday it will increase the starting wage for its U.S. employees to $11. Currently, Walmart’s minimum wage is $9 (but bumped up to $10 after completing a six-month training program). While Walmart has hiked wages over the past few years, the timing of this particular announcement signals the company’s attempt to curry favor with Trump.

“Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

In addition to wage increases, eligible Walmart employees will receive a one-time bonus of up to $1,000. And, full-time employees will receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave (up from eight weeks and two weeks, respectively).

Walmart is the latest company to publicly announce wage increases, bonuses and other benefits since Trump signed tax reform into law last month.
Also on Thursday, the company abruptly closed 63 Sam’s Club stores and laid off thousands of workers. 10 of the closed megastores will become e-commerce distribution centers.

Other companies have also been implementing this strategy of burying bad news amid the rollout of positive announcements. Take, for instance, AT&T (T), which laid off 600 employees at the same time as it announced bonuses for 200,000 workers.

Just last month, the big-box retailer announced it would allow its 1.44 million U.S. employees to access their paychecks before payday. The move was criticized as a loophole to avoid paying employees a higher wage. But perhaps the earlier announcement coupled with a wage hike can materially enhance employees’ lives.

According to a KeyBanc note to investors, Walmart helps set the “prevailing wages in retail.” Specifically citing the increase to $10 in 2016, the note explains how Walmart can set the tone for the retail sector at large. For example, the 2016 move to increase wages to $10 paved the way for competitors like Target (TGT) to raise hourly wages to $11 last year and commit to $15 per hour by the end of 2020.

Other companies lauding the tax plan
While Walmart’s announcement may be garnering the most buzz, given the company’s massive reach, it seems that every day another company is touting how it’s reinvesting the savings from a lower tax rate.

Strategas Partners managing partner Jason Trennert compiled a list of companies that have publicly announced higher wages, bonuses or other benefits post-tax cut.

There’s debate whether these corporate maneuvers are merely publicity stunts or are the first steps to helping employees— or both. Regardless, we should continue to expect more companies to follow suit.

Here’s a comprehensive list of companies and what they’re offering employees, post-tax cut, courtesy of Strategas Partners and original reporting. Industries range from airlines to wineries, promising everything from $1,000 bonuses to planting more vines.

AT&T: $1k bonuses for 200,000 U.S. employees
AAON: $1k bonuses for 2,000 employees
AccuWeather: Year-end bonuses for 450-500 employees
Aflac: Increase 401(k) match from 50% to 100% on the first 4% of compensation plus a one-time $500 contribution to every employee’s 401(k)
American Airlines: $1k bonuses for ~127,600 employees
American Bank: $1k bonuses for 60 employees
American Savings Bank: $1k bonuses for 1,150 employees
Americacollect: $300-$500 bonuses for 250 employees
Aquesta Financial Holdings: $1k bonuses for 95 employees
Associated Bank: $500 bonuses for all hourly employees
BB&T: $1,200 bonuses for 27,000 employees
Ball Ventures: $100 bonuses for each year worked for all employees
Bank of America: $1k bonuses for 145,000 U.S. employees
Bank of Hawaii: $1k bonuses for 2,074 employees
Bank of the James: Increase base wage to $15 per hour for employees serving more than 1 year; increased employee vacation days
Bank of the Ozarks: Incentive bonus plan for 2,300 employees of up to $1,200
Boeing: $300 million for “workplace of the future” facilities, infrastructure, workforce development, charitable giving
Canary LLC: Hire more employees
Capital One: Raising minimum wage to $15
Carl Black Automotive Group: Bonuses for 500 employees based on years of service
Central Pacific Bank: $1k bonuses for 850 employees
Citizens Bank: $1k bonuses for 12,500 employees
Clayton Distillery: Upgrade facilities
Comcast: $1k bonuses for 100,000 employees
Comerica: $1k bonuses for 4,500 employees
Commerce Bancshares: $1k bonuses for 3,450 full-time employees; $250 bonuses for eligible part-time employees
Community Trust Bancorp: $1k bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees
Copperleaf Assisted Living: $200-$600 bonuses for 175 employees
Dayton T. Brown: $400 bonuses for 210 employees
Delaware Supermarkets: $150 extra bonuses for 1,000 non-management personnel
Denizens Brewing Company: Reinvest tax savings into the business
Emkay: $1k bonuses for full-time employees
Ennis: $500 bonuses for 2,200 employees
Express Employment Professionals: $2k bonuses for more than 200 non-executive employees
Fifth Third Bancorp: $1k bonuses for 13,500 employees
FirstCapital Bank of Texas: $500 bonuses for 197 employees
First Farmers Bank and Trust: $750 bonuses for full-time employees
First Financial Northwest: $1k bonuses for non-executive employees
First Hawaiian Bank: $1,500 bonuses for 2,264 employees
First Horizon National Corp.: $1k bonuses for 4,000 employees
Gate City Bank: $1k bonuses for 538 non-management personnel
Gulf Coast Bank & Trust: Increase base wage to $12 per hour
HarborOne Bank: $500 bonuses for 600 employees
IAT Insurance Group: $3k bonuses for 700 employees
Inland Northwest Bank: $500 bonuses for 200 employees
Kansas City Southern: $1k bonuses
Melaleuca: $100 bonuses for each year worked for 2,000 employees
National Bank Holdings Corporation: $1k bonuses for employees earning <$50k
Nationwide: $1k bonuses for 29,000 employees
Navient: $1k bonuses for ~6,566 employees
Nelnet: $1k bonuses for 4,100 employees
Nephron: 5% raise for 640 employees
OceanFirst Bank: Increase base wage to $15 per hour
Ohnward Bancshares: $1k bonuses for 260 employees
Pinnacle Bank: $1k bonuses for 1,007 employees
Pioneer Credit Recovery: $1k bonuses
PNC Financial Services Group: $1k bonuses for 47,500 employees
Regions Financial Corporation: Increase base wage to $15 per hour
Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry: Open more stores, hire more employees
Rush Enterprises: $1k bonuses for 6,600 employees
Sinclair Broadcast Group: $1k bonuses for 9,000 employees
Southwest Airlines: $1k bonuses for 55,000 employees
Stifel Financial: $1,500 bonuses for 7,000 employees
Summit State Bank: $2k bonuses for 78 employees
SunTrust: $1k incentive for employees that complete company’s financial fitness program
TCF Financial: $1k bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees earning less than $100k
Territorial Savings Bank: $1k bonuses for 247 employees
Texas Capital Bank: $1k bonuses
Total System Services: $1k bonuses for 11,500 employees
Travelers: $1k bonuses for 14,000 employees
Turning Point Brands: $1k bonuses for 107 employees
US Bancorp: $1k bonuses for 60,000 employees
Unity Bancorp: $750 bonuses for all employees except executive management
Walmart: Increase starting wage to $11; expand maternity and paternal leave benefits; one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1k
Washington Federal: Provide 5% increase in addition to normal merit increase for employees earning <$100k; invest in employee training programs
Waste Management: $2k bonuses to 34,000 eligible employees
Wells Fargo: Increase base wage from $13.50 to $15 per hour
Western Alliance: Increase wages 7.5% for the lowest-paid 50% of employees
White Pine Winery: Planting more vines
Windsor Federal: $250 bonuses for employees except senior management
Yancey Bros.: $500 bonuses for all employees
Zions Bancorp: $1k bonuses for 80% of employees