With more stores than ever opening early this Thanksgiving, the larger chains are offering extra pay and perks to appease employees working holiday shifts. For shifts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Walmart offers slightly more pay, provides a 25 percent discount on a single purchase, and gives staff a turkey dinner. But the company calculates holiday pay differently from other retailers and manipulates staff schedules so they’re paid less on Thanksgiving than the retailer implies.
On Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, Walmart pays workers their normal hourly wage, plus a holiday wage taken from the average daily pay in the two weeks leading up to the holiday. But employees told CNNMoney that Walmart hurts their overall earnings by cutting shifts in the weeks that lead up to the holiday season. Fewer hours before the holiday translate into lower holiday wages, particularly when the average sales associate already only makes $8.81 an hour. Understaffing and erratic scheduling is typical year-round at the retail giant.
Ohio state Rep. Mike Foley (D) has introduced a bill that attempts to address the problem by requiring stores that open on Thanksgiving to pay employees three times their normal wages. Most stores, including Target and Toys R US, pay time-and-a-half for the holiday. Yet retailers still assure shoppers that staff are “excited to work that day.”