BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart, the largest private employer in West Virginia, announced plans Thursday to increase the starting salary for all hourly workers in the United States to $11-an-hour, provide a one-time $1,000 cash bonus to eligible employees and expand its maternity and parental leave benefits.

The company also plans to create a new benefit to help associates with adoption expenses.

More than one million store associates will benefit from the combined wage and benefit changes.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO, in a news release. “It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”

McMillion said the raises come as a result of the latest tax reform legislation, signed into law last month by President Donald Trump.

“We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders. However, some guiding themes are clear and consistent with how we’ve been investing — lower prices for customers, better wages and training for associates and investments in the future of our company, including in technology. Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” McMillion said.

There are approximately 12,000 Walmart associates in West Virginia.

The changes take effect next month.

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