Unpacking Amazon’s Minimum-Wage Increase

Will other retailers follow Amazon's move to raise its minimum wage? Some already have.
By: | October 2, 2018 • 2 min read
amazon's minimum wage increase

Amazon announced it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies) and seasonal employees across the U.S.—effective Nov. 1. The move will affect more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

In addition to the wage increase, Amazon’s public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage, according to the company.

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“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon’s global corporate affairs. “We intend to advocate for a minimum-wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country.”

Rick Guzzo, a partner at Mercer Workforce Sciences Institute, says the announced pay raise to $15 is not surprising because many other employers of large hourly workforces have already committed to that or something close to it.

Indeed, according to the New York Times, Target announced last year that it would raise minimum pay to $15 an hour by 2020, and Costco has raised its starting pay to at least $14 per hour. In January, Walmart said it was raising starting wages for employees to $11 after the new tax law passed, though critics noted that it was laying off workers as it tried to quietly close 63 Sam’s Club stores.

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