In response to its critics, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) said Tuesday that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the U.S.
The new minimum wage is effective from November 1, and includes associates employed by temporary agencies. The increase in minimum wages comes just ahead of the busy holiday season.
The $15 minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead. We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO.
Amazon and Bezos had come under intense criticism for pay disparity at the company. In early September, Amazon briefly joined tech giant Apple Inc. (AAPL) in the elite club of U.S. companies with a market capitalization of $1 trillion. Bezos is currently the richest person in the world with a net worth of an estimated $166 billion.
In September, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the “Bezos Act” legislation, which is intended to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.
Amazon said Tuesday that it’s public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 that was set nearly a decade ago.
The company added that its employees will continue to receive other benefits, including comprehensive healthcare, company-paid life and disability insurance, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave, and 401k matching.
Among Amazon’s rivals, Target Corp. (TGT) has said it is committed to increasing the minimum hourly wage to $15 by the end of 2020.
Walmart Inc. (WMT) said in January that it plans to increase the starting wage rate for all hourly associates in the U.S. to $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1,000.
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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