Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told "Axios on HBO " that he doesn't like to think of a temporary $2 entry wage increase for workers at e-commerce warehouses "as hazard pay, because it diminishes why our people are coming to work. ... They're coming to work because they want to serve."

The big picture: The company has had to ramp up its fulfillment capacity to meet the surging demand for groceries and home goods amid the pandemic.

Full question and answer:

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei: Should companies like Walmart pay hazard pay on top of the $11 or $15 or $20 an hour? At least in these extraordinary circumstances?

McMillon: Yeah, always I think our associates should be rewarded for their hard work, regardless of the crisis. So that's a combination of their hourly wage rate, plus a quarterly cash bonus, plus all the other benefits that we provide.

So the decision that we made very early on in the process in the United States and around the world was to get them cash. And our e-commerce fulfillment centers, where we needed to hire so many people, we did go out and pay $2 additional.

I don't like to think of that as hazard pay, because it diminishes why our people are coming to work. When I talk to them, they're not coming to work because of that. They're coming to work because they want to serve. And so I think they should be financially rewarded for that, and always — post-crisis and beyond. I don't think the conversation should be only about the hourly wage rate. I think it should be about the total.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios VisualsThe

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Rep. Rodney Davis. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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