Wal-Mart is making some of its employees work on Thanksgiving, but the retailer is hoping to make up for intruding on the family holiday by feeding workers a traditional turkey dinner, giving them an extra day’s pay and offering them 25 percent off a future shipping trip.
The company is joining retailers such as Best Buy, Kmart, Big Lots, Macy’s, Target and Toys ‘R’ Us by opening Thursday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m.
Because many Wal-Mart stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, many of the employees would have been scheduled to work Thanksgiving Day anyway.
But they’ll be paid additional wages equal to the average daily shift they worked in the previous two weeks in addition to their eight-hour holiday shift.
Employees scheduled to work Thanksgiving Day should expect a busy day, said the company’s chief merchandising and marketing officer.
"Black Friday is our Super Bowl of retail, and we think 6 o'clock (on Thanksgiving) is the exact right time for us to open the weekend," said company official Duncan Mac Naughton. "With six fewer shopping days until Christmas (than last year), Black Friday is going to play an even more important role for us."
The news comes a week after 54 Wal-Mart employees were arrested in Los Angeles while protesting employee wages.
The demonstrators were demanding the retailer pay full-time employees at least $25,000 a year.
Fortune senior editor Stephen Gandel published an analysis Tuesday that showed Wal-Mart could afford to pay its workers far more than $25,000 and a turkey dinner for pulling a holiday shift.
Gandel said that his analysis showed the company could give its employees a 50 percent raise, with an average take-home pay of $33,315 a year, without disappointing its investors or forcing its top executives to take pay cuts.