The company said the wage increase benefits all hourly USA workers at its stores, including Sam's Club.
"Today, we are building on investments we've been making in associates, in their wages and skills development", Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Walmart, said in a statement.
Walmart said on Thursday that its increase in worker wages would cost the company an extra $300 million next year, and that the announced worker bonuses will run roughly $400 million.
With the national unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, there are more job openings in the retail industry now than at any time since December 2000, government data shows.
"I would've been astounded if they hadn't raised wages", said Thomas Kochan, at professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Salaried employees, who already had 10 weeks paid maternity leave, will receive more paid parental leave. Paying workers more will help ensure those stores are pleasant shopping environments - a necessity for Walmart if it is to keep growing its sales. The starting pay for all hourly Walmart employees is now $9, or $10 for those who completed a training program. "We need $15 and full-time to be able to support our families".
But the announcement came within hours of a separate decision that it would be closing 63 Sam's Clubs stores - potentially impacting thousands of workers.
Walmart will also pay a one-time cash bonus to eligible employees of up to $1,000. "The company is on track for about $12 billion in net income this year, so it will take about nine days of profit to recoup the extra spending", the report stated.
The changes were made after a recent performance review, according to the company.
Walmart has announced an increase to its minimum wage and a series of bonuses in light of the Republican tax bill, but the bulk of its corporate tax cut still won't trickle down to its workers. Analysts estimated that the nationwide closings will result in about 7,000 or more layoffs.
Ivanka Trump tweeted that "America is on a roll", and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thanked Walmart from the White House briefing room.
The company announced Thursday Club #8170 at 4024 Elkhart Road will close to the public January 26.