As Amazon’s value approaches $1 trillion, the company has come under fire from employees as well as politicians and workers’ rights groups for their low wages and poor working conditions, particularly within their fulfillment centers across the United States.
Today, in a surprise move, the Seattle, Washington-based company announced that they are raising their minimum hourly wage to $15. This wage increase will apply to not only the 250,000 full-time employees that the company has, but also to the 100,000 seasonal employees they hire each year prior to the holidays. This minimum wage will apply to all Whole Foods employees as well. Amazon purchased the Whole Foods grocery chain in August 2017.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said CEO Jeff Bezos. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
In addition to the minimum wage increase, all employees will also continue to receive the following benefits from the company:
- Comprehensive healthcare, including medical, dental, and vision coverage
- Company-paid life and disability insurance
- Up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave
- 401k matching
- Career Choice, which pre-pays 95% of associates’ tuition for courses in high-demand fields, whether those jobs are at Amazon or another company
- Career Skills, which trains hourly associates in critical job skills like resume writing, how to communicate effectively, and computer basics
In addition to raising their own minimum wage, the company says that they will be working to convince Congress to raise the current $7.25 minimum wage across the United States. This wage has remained stagnant for nearly a decade.
“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,” explained Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon’s global corporate affairs
Amazon will also be raising their own minimum wage in the United Kingdom to £9.50 ($12.30), and in the London area to £10.50 ($13.60).