Could Wal-Mart's $3.3B Acquisition Change Jet.com Employee Perks?

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By Carmen Castro-Pagan

Aug. 8 — Tech startup Jet.com Inc. offers its employees some generous benefits and perks, including gym discounts, unlimited vacation leave, up to four months of parental paid leave, a table tennis room and even karaoke.

With the Aug. 8 announcement that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is acquiring Jet.com for $3.3 billion, employees at the e-commerce company may wonder whether they'll continue to enjoy those generous benefits once the deal is closed.

For the moment, at Jet.com it's “business as usual,” Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said. A management team will be working on getting the necessary approvals and on the details of the integration and the company culture in upcoming weeks, Hargrove told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 8.

Traditional Versus Nontraditional Benefits

With 2.3 million employees worldwide, Wal-Mart offers traditional benefits to its eligible associates in the U.S. These benefits include a health-care plan, company-paid life insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, a stock purchase plan with company match and merchandise discounts.

Jet.com's benefit offerings look much different. The company has received some praise from its employees about its not-so-traditional benefits and the company culture.

“There are the ‘typical' startup perks like amazing snacks, constant catered lunches, electric standing desks (and some treadmill desks available for use), gym membership, etc.,” a current software engineer at Jet.com's Hoboken, N.J., office wrote on the jobs and recruiting website Glassdoor.

Other perks mentioned by former employees on Glassdoor include a nap room, a table tennis room and a pool table.

Jet.com didn't immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA's request for comments about what's ahead for the company's workers.

Wal-Mart's Tech Acquisitions

Other startups acquired by Wal-Mart in the past couple of years may reflect what could happen to some of Jet.com's employee benefits. A search of the benefits offered by these acquired startups show that they still offer some nontraditional benefits.

In 2011, Wal-Mart acquired Kosmix, which eventually became @WalmartLabs, an idea incubator for Wal-Mart's online business.

The company offers some of the benefits usually offered by tech startups, according to @WalmartLabs' page on Glassdoor. These include a flexible work schedule, commuter benefits, free beverages and snacks, employee discounts, paid volunteer time and a free gym.

Only time will tell if the benefits that Jet.com employees receive will continue to be offered once the deal is closed. If @WalmartLabs' experience serves as an indicator, that table tennis room might just survive.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carmen Castro-Pagan in Washington at ccastro-pagan@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bna.com

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