Walmart has unveiled plans to hand a pay rise to more than 1.2 million workers employed across its core store estate and its Sam’s Club fascia.

The largest single-day private sector pay increase ever will see all employees hired prior to January 1, 2016 earn a minimum of $10 (£6.98) per hour.

Walmart staff appointed since the turn of the year will earn at least $9 (£6.28) per hour. That rate will be boosted to $10 after employees have completed the retailer’s training programme.

Colleagues already earning more than $10 per hour will receive an annual pay increase in February, rather than having to wait until their anniversary date.

Wider investment

The salary hikes, which will come into effect on February 20, form the second phase of Asda-owner Walmart’s two-year, $2.7bn (£1.88bn) investment into its shop staff.

Last February, the US retail giant revealed it was handing a pay rise to 500,000 of its hourly workers by the end of the year. It said it would increase rates of pay for 40% of its staff to at least $9 per hour – $1.75 (£1.22) more than the US minimum wage.

The latest changes will boost Walmart’s average full-time hourly wage to $13.38 (£9.34) per hour, the retailer said. The average part-time wage will jump to $10.58 (£7.38) per hour.

“We are committed to investing in our associates and to continuing to simplify our business.”

Judith McKenna, Walmart

Walmart said it was also implementing a simplified paid time-off programme from March, which will allow both full-time and part-time staff to earn paid leave based on how long they have spent with the business and the number of hours they work per week.

A new short-term basic disability plan will also be implemented, which will take effect this year at no cost to full-time hourly staff. The scheme means it will pay 50% of a worker’s average weekly wage, up to $200 (£139.60), for a maximum of 26 weeks.

Walmart US chief operating officer Judith McKenna said: “We are committed to investing in our associates and to continuing to simplify our business. When we do so, there is no limit to what our associates can accomplish.

“Our customers and associates are noticing a difference. We’re seeing strong increases in both customer experience and associate engagement scores.

“Five straight quarters of positive comparatives in our US business is just one example of how helping our associates grow and succeed helps the company do the same.”