Amazon announced today it would raise its minimum wage for all US employees to $15 per hour. The change will take effect on November 1, and will apply to full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. Overall, more than 250,000 Amazon workers will get a pay raise from this, in addition to more than 100,000 seasonal employees that the company hires at various times throughout the year.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
The company's public policy team will also be advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. The federal minimum wage hasn't risen since 2009.
Amazon employee pay depends heavily on location: hourly workers in some areas of the country get paid $10 per hour while others are already making more than $15 per hour (employees who fall into the latter category can expect to see a slight pay bump as well). Currently, the median annual income for an Amazon employee is just under $28,500.
The retail giant has faced criticism for not paying its workers enough, especially in light of Bezos' immense wealth: he's currently considered the richest person in the world with a net worth of about $165 billion. Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation that would tax businesses for the cost of employees' food stamps and other assistance programs. The bill's name is a dig at Bezos himself—"Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act," or the Stop BEZOS Act.
Amazon isn't the only company making moves to raise wages for its employees. Target recently vowed to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. Walmart announced back in January that it plans to raise its minimum wage to $11 per hour.
Amazon's announcement comes nearly one month after the company reached a big milestone: a market value of $1 trillion. It hit that mark on September 5, just weeks after Apple became the first company to ever reach a $1 trillion valuation.