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Walmart Provides Employees With Different Payment Options

The retailer now allows workers to take part of their paycheck before payday via an app.
December 15, 2017

​BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart announced this week that 1.4 million workers can access their wages before payday through an app, the New York Times reports. Rather than wait for payment every two weeks, employees can access part of their wages for hours worked in between paydays with the Even app.

The initiative will assist workers in avoiding payday loans or similar financial traps, and lower financial hardship stress. Those who don’t worry as much about their finances “feel more confident and more settled at work,” said Judith McKenna, COO of Walmart. “We believe this is the right thing to do, and we are happy to champion it.”

However, the retailer is taking heat for promoting a new app rather than paying workers more. “It sounds like this may be a useful service but it doesn’t tackle the fundamental problem Walmart workers suffer,” said Paul Sonn, general counsel of the National Employment Law Project. “Their paychecks are too small.”

Walmart workers start out at a $9 per hour minimum wage, $1.75 more than the federal minimum wage. But other retailers have higher starting wages, like Costco ($13 per hour) and Target ($11 per hour).

Walmart countered that higher wages won’t solve cash management troubles, which is what this new service is designed to do. The Even app will allow each Walmart worker to receive part of his or her earned wages eight times annually without charge. Employees who want to use the service more than eight times in a calendar year will have to pay a fee.

The app also provides financial data for users, such as how much they pay each month for food, housing and phone bills, as well as real-time estimates of how much they can use before payday.