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Amazon announces $15 minimum wage for all US employees

The change takes impact November 1 and applies to full-time, part-time and momentary employees. Amazon (AMZN) says the $15 minimum wage will profit greater than 250,000 Amazon employees, plus 100,000 seasonal employees.

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

The change applies to Whole Foods and all different subsidiary employees.

Amazon additionally mentioned its public coverage group will start lobbying for a rise within the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

“We’ll leave it to Congress and professionals to decide what the right number is,” Dave Clark, the corporate’s senior vice chairman of worldwide operations, advised CNN’s Christine Romans. “But for us, that number is $15.”

The measurement and explosive progress of Amazon give the choice significance far past the a whole lot of 1000’s of people that will profit straight.

Amazon is among the many largest employers within the United States, and it has added extra American jobs previously decade than every other firm.

The choice additionally raises the stakes for potential employees at Amazon’s subsequent headquarters. The firm is planning to create a second headquarters, often known as HQ2, with as many as 50,000 jobs. Amazon has named 20 cities as finalists, together with Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Critics, together with independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have mentioned that Amazon doesn’t pay employees sufficient. They have drawn a distinction with Bezos’ spectacular wealth: He is the richest person alive, worth an estimated $165 billion.

“I want to give credit where credit is due,” Sanders mentioned on Tuesday. “I want to congratulate Mr. Bezos for doing exactly the right thing.” He mentioned he appeared ahead to working with Bezos to push for a $15 federal minimum.

Bezos responded by thanking the senator. “We’re excited about this, and also hope others will join in,” he wrote in a tweet.

Workers throughout the nation have pushed for a $15 minimum wage, most notably as a part of the motion often known as Fight for $15.

Supporters say it’s a remedy for widening wage inequality and can increase shopper spending, whereas opponents counter that it may scale back alternatives for employment, notably for youngsters and others trying for entry degree or low-skilled jobs.

Some corporations have responded to the general public strain.

Target raised its minimum wage for new hires to $12 an hour in September and plans to boost its minimum to $15 by the top of 2020. Disney reached a deal with its unions to pay a minimum of $15 an hour at Disneyland in California in 2019 and at Disney World in Florida by 2021.

And Walmart, the nation’s largest private-sector employer, which has greater than 1 million US employees, raised its minimum wage to $11 in February.

Clark mentioned that Amazon wished to make its change sooner.

“We decided, why wait? We should really do this now,” he advised Romans.

Paul Sonn, state coverage program director for the National Employment Law Project, mentioned Amazon’s announcement would put strain on different corporations to boost pay, and on Congress to elevate the nationwide minimum. Twenty-nine states have their very own minimum wages increased than the federal $7.25.

Neil Saunders, managing director of the consultancy GlobalData Retail, mentioned that increased minimum pay may additionally assist Amazon recruit employees.

“Without a rise in wages, Amazon would be placing itself at a disadvantage in the labor market,” Saunders mentioned. The firm’s speedy progress requires “a lot of recruitment which is becoming increasingly difficult in a tight labor market,” he mentioned. “This is especially so over the holiday season.”

Saunders added that the choice was “politically savvy.”

Last month, Amazon mentioned that the typical hourly wage for a full-time affiliate in its success facilities was already greater than $15 per hour.

Amazon median pay final yr was $28,446, in response to an organization submitting. That involves $13.68 an hour. The firm famous that the determine consists of worldwide and part-time employees.

The firm additionally introduced that it’s growing the minimum wage for UK employees beginning November 1. The new minimum wage is £10.50 ($13.60) for the London space and £9.50 ($12.30) for the remainder of the nation. More than 37,000 employees, together with seasonal employees, might be affected by the change.

The present UK minimum wage for adults over 25 is £7.83 ($10.15).

CNN’s Lydia DePillis contributed to this report.

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