Amazon announced it is raising the minimum wage for all its employees in the U.S. to $15 per hour. The change in hourly wage will take effect on November 1 and applies across the board to fulltime, part-time and temporary employees.
Amazon said that the $15 wage would benefit over 250,000 employees and another 100,000 seasonal workers.
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said that the company listened to its critics and decided to be the lead in this and are excited about the change while encouraging competitors and other employers to follow suit.
The $15 minimum wage will apply to Whole Foods employees as well as employees at other subsidiaries.
Amazon said as well that its public policy team is going to start lobbying to have the federal minimum wage increased, which has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009.
A SVP in worldwide operations for Amazon said professionals and Congress could decide on the right numbers for the minimum wage but for Amazon the correct number is $15.
The explosive growth and current size of Amazon gives its decision importance that goes beyond just hundreds of thousands who benefit directly.
Amazon is one of the largest employers in the U.S. and has increased the size of its workforce in the country more than any other company in the last decade.
Amazon’s decision also increased the stakes for potential employees at the next headquarters of Amazon. The company plans to create its second headquarters called HQ2 with up to 50,000 new jobs. Amazon named 20 finalist cities including Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta.
Critics have said Amazon does not pay its workers enough drawing comparisons to workers pay and the wealth of CEO Bezos, who is considered the richest person in the world with his estimated worth currently $165 billion.
One critic has been U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders who upon hearing the news of the pay increase congratulated Bezos for doing the right thing and looked forward to together with Bezos pushing for a federal minimum wage of $15.
Workers across the U.S. have pushed to have the minimum wage increased to $15 per hour as part of the Fight for $15 movement.