Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would prohibit employers with more than 500 employees from buying back stock unless they pay all employees at least $15 an hour — including part-time employees, independent contractors and franchisee employees.
The proposed legislation was named the “Stop Walmart Act.” It would also allow employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave to be used to care for themselves or a family member and require that CEO compensation, or the highest-paid employee, is not more than 150 times the median pay of all employees.
Employers who violate the act would be subject to civil fines in the amount of each illegal stock buyback and executive officers will be barred from serving in these roles.
Sanders previously targeted Amazon over its pay before the online retail giant on Nov. 1 increased its minimum wage to $15 for all employees across the US.
In response to the bill, Walmart, in a statement provided to Staffing Industry Analysts, said it promoted more than 230,000 people to jobs of greater responsibility and higher pay, and more than 75% of its store management teams started as hourly associates.
“We have increased our starting wages by more than 50% in the last three years and currently have an average hourly total compensation of more than $17.50 an hour,” the statement said. “At the same time, we’ve also added new benefits like paid time off, advanced job training, paid family leave and college for $1 a day. In addition, our associates continue to earn quarterly cash bonuses — more than $625 million last year alone. We have been very deliberate about our job offerings and we will continue listening to our people and investing in the training, benefits and wages that they tell us are important.”
Sanders’ bill stands a better chance in the Democrat-controlled House than the Republican-controlled Senate, CNN reported.