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Walmart offering another round of bonuses as coronavirus pandemic rages on

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Walmart will give its 1.5 million workers across the U.S. a fourth financial bonus later this month for working during the pandemic as COVID-19 cases soar. 

The world's largest retailer will make $300 cash payments to full-time employees and $150 to part-time workers on Dec. 24 "in recognition of associates' sustained commitment to customers during the pandemic," Walmart said in a statement.

Walmart has spent more than $2.8 billion on extra pay since the coronavirus hit, the company said. 

Walmart Canada on Friday said its 85,000 workers would get a bonus December 11, with $250 coming to full-time associates and $150 to part-time workers. In March, they received bonuses of $200 and $100, respectively.

The moves come a week after Amazon said it would spend more than $500 million on bonuses for frontline workers to recognize their efforts during the holiday season. 

Like Walmart, Amazon is giving full-time workers $300 and part-time employees $150 so long as they are employed at the company for all of December. The payments follow one-time bonuses of as much as $500 in June. 

Both companies, along with other major retailers, have drawn fire for ending so-called hazard pay for employees who have continued to work during the pandemic.

Labor advocates say frontline workers remain potentially at risk from COVID-19 and deserve additional compensation They also note that some large retailers have booked record sales this year as consumers, holed up at home, stocked up on goods.

Walmart and Amazon could have quadrupled the hazard pay given their workers and still earned a bigger profit than last year, according to research by Brookings, a liberal-leaning nonprofit public policy group. 

United For Respect, a nonprofit group focused on the rights of retail workers, on Friday dismissed Walmart's latest bonuses as a ploy to deflect calls for continued hazard pay during the public health crisis. 

The extra cash offered by the company is like a "band-aid on a bullet wound as frontline retail associates, warehouse workers, delivery drivers and others face the pandemic and the holiday rush, head-on," Cynthia Murray, a 20-year Walmart employee and United for Respect leader, said in a statement issued by the group.

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