Amazon will be raising its minimum wage to $15 for all US employees, the company said in an announcement Tuesday.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief executive, said he was "excited" to announce the changes, which he said would impact more than 37,000 employees across the United Kingdom, "resulting in higher pay for them and their families". And five states have laws that don't require a minimum wage at all, according to the Department of Labor.
The new floor, which will take effect November 1, applies to more than 250,000 employees who work in the company's network of warehouses, logistics depots and customer service call centers, as well as the more than 100,000 temporary hires the company brings on to handle the holiday season's uptick in orders. Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has charged that Amazon pays its workers such a low wage that many of them have to apply for public assistance.
Amazon, which became the second company to cross $1 trillion market value last month, on average paid employees $28,446 a year ago. The company said it also will start lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour.
PHOTO: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle, June 16, 2014.
Amazon says it will pay all its USA workers at least $15. Last month it became the second publicly traded company to be worth $1 trillion, hot on the heels of Apple.
Mr Bezos said he encouraged the company's competitors to increase their own minimum wages.
Competition among companies for qualified workers is growing more intense, and they are increasingly willing to pay.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said Tuesday that while Amazon's wage hike is a politically savvy move, it's also a change made out of economic necessity.
Amazon's new pay rate includes workers who are hired through temp agencies and subsidiaries in the U.S. The company has more than 575,000 employees worldwide.