Amazon Ups Minimum Wage to $15 for All U.S. Employees

Amazon Ups Minimum Wage to $15 for All U.S. Employees
Amazon says it decided to increase its minimum wage for all U.S. workers after listening to its critics, and now intends to lead on the issue of associate pay

Amazon has revealed that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary – including those hired by agencies – and seasonal employees across the United States, effective Nov. 1. The move will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, in addition to 100,000-plus seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this coming holiday season.

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

In addition to its own pay increase, Amazon’s public policy team intends to throw the online retailer’s considerable weight behind a federal minimum wage hike.

“We will be working to gain congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage,” affirmed Jay Carney, SVP of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs. “The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago. 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.”

Among Amazon’s existing employee benefits are comprehensive health care, including medical, dental, and vision coverage; company-paid life and disability insurance; up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave; 401k matching; Career Choice, which pre-pays 95 percent of associates’ tuition for courses in high-demand fields, whether those jobs are at Amazon or elsewhere; and Career Skills, which trains hourly associates in key job skills such as resume writing, effective communication and computer basics. 

“I applaud Amazon's decision to start paying all its employees (including temporary and seasonal workers) at least $15 an hour,” said Rep. Mo Khanna, D-Calif., who joined with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to sponsor the Stop BEZOS Act, legislation that would compel large corporations to foot the bill for the costs of federal programs often used by low-wage employees. “This is exactly the response Sen. Sanders and I hoped for when we introduced our bill. We called on Jeff Bezos to do this and be the Henry Ford of his generation and raise wages. I am glad Amazon listened. Many in the beltway criticized our bill as impractical. But Amazon’s action shows that our bill can inspire multibillion-dollar companies to raise the wages of their workers.  Hopefully, more companies will follow Amazon’s lead.”

Amazon has more than 575,000 employees worldwide. Under its Whole Foods Market banner, the e-retailer is No. 8 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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