On Nov 1st, Amazon will be raising the minimum wage for its employees in the United States to $15 an hour. This will be a change for the company, as this change would apply to both seasonal, part-time, and full-time workers. Amazon is a large company, employing over 566,000 people. Previously, employees earned only $13.68 an hour on average. This is something Amazon has been criticized for in the past. The change will go into effect in September.
“We’ll leave it to Congress and professionals to decide what the right number is,” Dave Clark, the senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, told CNN. “But for us, that number is $15.”
The announcement of the pay raise has calmed many of their critics, but the company is going a step further. Along with the promise of increasing their wage, Amazon has also announced that they will be lobbying for an increase in the national minimum wage. At the moment, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but this number was decided upon back in 2009. The concerns regarding minimum wage primarily stem from employees being unable to live off their minimum wage salaries. Some are thinking that Amazon raising their minimum wage, along with lobbying could result in some change.
“We will be working to gain congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” Jay Carney, senior vice president of global corporate affairs said. “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.”
Amazon has previously been criticized for their low minimum wage, but now they’ve started to listen. Critics have spoken out against the minimum wage not being livable for employees. Other major companies have announced pay raises, but many of these will not take effect for a few years. Target also announced a raise in their minimum wage, with the change taking effect in 2020. Walmart raised its minimum wage for employees to $11 an hour this past January. When speaking about the upcoming pay raise Amazon stated that they saw no reason to delay the raise.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead,” Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos said. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
Updated: 10/4/18 at 8:55
Recently Amazon made another announcement, displeasing both supporters and critics. While they will be receiving a pay raise, employees will also be striped of important benefits. Amazon is removing things such as pay bonuses and stock options, which will dramatically affect employees. Many are criticizing Amazon for using the pay raise as a publicity stunt, while having made little change in the long term. Long term employees will actually be making less, while new ones will have less room to grow. Some employees are reporting that they will actually make 3-6 thousand less after this change is implemented.
“Wish more people knew this or could get more attention on this. Have many family members who work at Amazon and they lost a lot yesterday.” Stated @The_splitwig on their twitter page, “They were already @ $15 or above (most are at their facility), but lost all incentive and stock programs. They’ll make $3-6k less per yr now.”