Hourly workers at Walmart (WMT 0.26%) are being given a "mini stimulus package" as the retail giant said it would distribute nearly $550 million worth of bonuses to them as a reward for the work they've done during the coronavirus pandemic.

Walmart's full-time hourly employees will receive a $300 bonus; part-time workers will get a $150 bonus. The total amount paid will equal $345 million, and the retailer is accelerating the payment of planned quarterly bonuses of $180 million.

The bonuses will be paid out April 2 and every hourly employee who began work as of March 1 will qualify.

A Walmart cashier

Image source: Walmart.

Holding back the tide

Walmart has seen a massive surge in business as consumers flock to its supercenters to stock up as COVID-19 forces businesses to close and limits travel. Its workers have been pressured to keep shelves stocked with essentials like hand sanitizer, paper towels, and toilet paper as shoppers panic buy and hoard products.

To assist its employees in restocking, the retailer has eliminated 24-hour stores. All locations now open at 7 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m., though shoppers aged 60 and over are given one-hour early shopping opportunities on certain days. And in some locations the number of people allowed in the store at any one time is also limited in response to state bans on public gatherings over a certain size.

Walmart is the largest employer in the U.S. with 1.3 million workers.