By Nicholas Sakelaris
Oct. 2 (UPI) — Amazon announced Tuesday it will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all workers in the United States, beginning next month.
The wage hike will benefit 250,000 workers and 100,000 seasonal employees this holiday season, the company said.
All full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees will receive the raise, beginning Nov. 1. Amazon has 575,000 employees worldwide.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
The federal hourly minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009 — but states can exceed that amount, and most have.
Amazon favors raising the federal minimum wage. Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs, said the move would have “a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families” in the United States.
The company’s announcement Tuesday came after the city of Seattle, Amazon’s home base, also raised its hourly minimum wage to $16. It will take effect Jan. 1 and covers any company with at least 500 employees.
Companies with fewer employees must pay a minimum wage of $15 — or $12 an hour, plus another $3 toward benefits.