Walmart, the United States' largest retail company and the country's biggest private employer, announced Thursday it is raising the pay of about 40 percent of its workers.
Five-hundred thousand Walmart employees will be paid at least $9 per hour starting in April, and $10 an hour by next February.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Walmart will also introduce training to give low-level employees the opportunity for promotion.
Walmart, which operates thousands of discount department stores, has long been a target of criticism from labor groups for offering what they say is low-paying jobs with no benefits and little chance for advancement.
The White House sent out a Twitter post Thursday congratulating Walmart for giving its workers a pay hike and again called on Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour.