Amazon announced Tuesday it’s raising the minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15, effective next month.
The new minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees — including part-time and temporary employees — as well as another 100,000 seasonal employees, the company said. Some employees who already make $15 per hour will also see a pay increase.
Amazon said the effect of the higher pay will be reflected in its forward-looking quarterly guidance. Shares of Amazon were trading a fraction of 1 percent lower before the market open.
The company and CEO Jeff Bezos have been facing criticism for its pay disparity. Sen. Bernie Sanders last month introduced legislation called the BEZOS Act to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.
Amazon is worth $1 TRILLION.
Jeff Bezos is worth $155 BILLION.
Thousands of Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to survive.
That is what a rigged economy looks like. Tomorrow we will introduce a bill to end subsidies for low-wage employers. https://t.co/jYQrtYbwZL
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 4, 2018
For 2017, the median Amazon employee earned just under $28,500, according to company filings. Bezos earned $1.7 million.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Bezos said in a statement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
Retail rival Target announced in its holiday hiring release it would raise minimum wage to $15 by 2020. Walmart announced in January of this year it would raise its minimum wage to $11.
Amazon will also start advocating for an increase to the federal minimum wage, the company said.
The announcement comes ahead of Amazon’s annual holiday hiring push. Last year the e-commerce giant said it would hire 120,000 temporary employees for the holiday season.
In August, national wage growth posted its biggest increase of the economic recovery, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Payroll gains beat expectations and the unemployment rate held near a generational low of 3.9 percent.