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Walmart workers to get Thanksgiving Day off and coronavirus cash bonus

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Walmart said Tuesday it would spend about $428 million on cash bonuses for hourly employees as a reward for continuing to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer famous for its early Black Friday weekend "doorbuster" sales also has made Thanksgiving Day a company holiday starting this year.

The bonus will amount to $300 for full-time hourly workers and $150 for part-time and temporary workers, with drivers, managers and assistant managers also in line for extra pay next month, the retailer said. Including the latest award, in 2020 the retailer has paid a total of $1.1 billion in extra worker financial incentives, Walmart said.

Walmart, the biggest private employer in the U.S., has hired more than 200,000 workers this year to keep up with increased consumer demand as Americans bought more groceries and other supplies while staying at home amid the coronavirus. The company employs 1.5 million people in the U.S. and 2.2 million globally, according to its website.

Along with the new worker bonuses, Walmart said it will give workers Thanksgiving Day off. In a news release, the company said all of its stores would be closed on November 26 to show appreciation for its employees. The move ends a long-standing policy of the retailer getting a jump on holiday sales by kicking off its Black Friday bargains on the Thursday holiday. 

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"We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones," John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. said in a statement. "We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts."

Walmart is among the major retailers that have recently stipulated that shoppers must wear face masks in its stores to help curb COVID-19, which has killed 143,000 Americans.

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