The workers will be able to make those requests up to eight times a year, Walmart said. The Even app also has financial planning tools to help employees manage their expenses.
Walmart and its partner, Silicon Valley-based startup PayActiv, said the new perk is meant to help employees who have unexpected expenses between paychecks.
"Every American worker faces unexpected and stressful between-paychecks expenses," said Safwan Shah, founder and CEO of PayActiv, which worked with Walmart to develop the new feature. "With on-demand access to earned wages, Walmart associates will be able to save more, avoid the financial traps that reduce their take-home pay, and get a level of stability that few service sector employers provide."
Walmart has long faced criticism for underpaying its employees. But the company has been working to improve conditions for its workforce by investing $2.7 billion over the last couple years in higher wages, training, and better scheduling management.
"Traditional approaches to workforce well-being often focus solely on physical health, but we know from listening to our associates that financial well-being is just as important," Walmart chief people office Jacqui Canney said in a statement. "We're investing to give our people financial tools that help provide more stability in their lives, which we believe will empower them to be all they can be when they are at work serving our customers."