This widely publicized report finds Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits packages for its California workers to be below average as compared to the overall retail sector in California. The authors also find a greater reliance upon public assistance programs among Wal-Mart workers as compared to other California retail workers. Finally, the authors estimate the additional costs to taxpayers of “Wal-Martization”—the adoption of Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits standards by retailers throughout California.
Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Wal-Mart Workers and Shoppers
This study analyzes what the impact on Wal-Mart workers and shoppers would be if the retailer increased its minimum wage to $10 per hour. It finds that a $10 per hour minimum wage would provide significant, concentrated benefits to Wal-Mart workers, the majority in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.
Our research finds that Wal-Mart store openings lead to the replacement of better paying jobs with jobs that pay less. Wal-Mart’s entry also drives wages down for workers in competing industry segments such as grocery stores.
Using actuarial and membership data, we documented changes in the rates of health care eligibility, enrollment, and coverage, and in workforce turnover and demographics from 2003 to 2006. Based on our survey responses, we compared differences between incumbent workers and new hires with regard to access to and utilization of health care.
Each of the major new health reform proposals in California includes fees for employers who spend less than a specified amount of total payroll on healthcare. In order to understand the impacts of these policies, it is important to look at the current patterns of healthcare spending as a percent of payroll in California.