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article imageAmazon raises minimum wage to $15 for all U.S. employees

By Karen Graham     Oct 2, 2018 in Business
Starting on November 1, Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15, a bump that could have implications throughout the US workforce.
The pay raise will cover 250,000 full and part-time employees and 100,000 seasonal employees. The change also applies to Whole Foods and all other subsidiary employees.
Amazon has been taking a lot of criticism of late - particularly after Bernie Sanders' negative comments on Bezoz's wealth and allegations that there was a sharp rise in health and safety complaints at Amazon facilities following "Prime Day" on July 18.
Critics have said that Amazon does not pay workers enough — comparing the wealth of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, to the salaries paid to his employees, many of whom have to seek federal assistance, notes CNN.
Statement from Jeff Bezos
"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, and CEO in a statement. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."
Amazon’s public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.
“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 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.”
Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11 and promised to raise it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020, while the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.
Amazon's current minimum hourly wage starts at $11 an hour and analysts say the increase to $15 an hour would cost the company about $1 billion or less annually and be offset by a recent $20 increase in the cost of Prime memberships.
“The pay increase puts Amazon ahead of the curve when it comes to providing its employee a living wage,” D.A. Davidson analyst Thomas Forte said, adding that the move will help it to attract employees as it opens more brick-and-mortar retail stores.
According to Reuters, Amazon has also raised its minimum wage in Britain to 10.50 pounds ($13.59) an hour for all employees in the London area and 9.50 pounds an hour for staff in all other parts of the country, effective from November 1.
More about Amazon, Minimum wage, $15 per hour, all US employees, jeff bezos
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