Online retailer Amazon has increased its minimum rate of pay to $15 (£11.52) an hour for 250,000 US employees and 100,000 seasonal staff who will be hired in the run up to Christmas.
The pay increase, effective from 1 November 2018, will benefit US-based full-time, part-time and seasonal employees at Amazon, as well as temporary staff, such as those hired by external agencies, and employees working at Amazon’s subsidiaries in the US.
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer at Amazon, said: “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead. We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
The organisation’s public policy team has also begun advocacy work in a bid to increase the federal minimum wage.
Jay Carney, senior vice president at Amazon Global Corporate Affairs, added: “We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 [(£5.57)] was set nearly a decade ago. 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.”
The pay rise will align with Amazon’s extensive benefits offering. This includes healthcare, such as medical, dental and vision coverage, available from an employee’s first day, employer-paid life and disability insurance, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave and 401k matching. The organisation also provides a Career Choice initiative, which pre-pays 95% of employees’ tuition for courses in high-demand fields.