By Sahid Fawaz
The largest company in the world, with almost half a trillion dollars in annual revenue, employs a workforce that often can't make it paycheck to paycheck. So the company is providing an app that will allow employees to access their pay before paycheck time arrives.
"For decades, Walmart has attracted attention, and taken heat, for how it treats its work force, including paying low wages and creating unpredictable schedules.
Now, the giant retailer is teaming up with Silicon Valley to try to ease some of its workers’ financial strain.
This week, the nation’s largest private employer will begin providing its more than 1.4 million workers a service that will allow them to receive wages before their next payday.
Instead of waiting two weeks between paychecks, Walmart workers can now use an app to access a portion of wages for hours they have already worked. The goal is to help workers avoid costly payday loans and other debt traps.
'We believe this is the right thing to do, and we are happy to champion it,' Judith McKenna, Walmart’s chief operating officer, said in an interview.
But Walmart’s new digital initiative also highlights, albeit unwittingly, the financial struggles of Walmart’s low-wage work force. Even as the economy strengthens, many retail and service industry workers are not earning enough to make ends meet.
'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, an labor advocacy group. 'Their paychecks are too small.'"
For the rest of the story, check out The New York Times piece here.