Effective Nov. 1, the USA wage increase to $15 an hour applies to more than 250,000 current employees along with 100,000 more seasonal workers who will be hired during the holidays, Amazon said Tuesday in a statement.
And Walmart, the country's largest private-sector employer, which has more than 1 million USA workers, raised its minimum wage to $11 in February.
At the new pay rate, an Amazon employee who makes minimum wage would need to work more than 3 weeks (133 hours) to buy one share of the company's stock, which now sits above $2,000. The median pay for an Amazon employee previous year was $28,446 worldwide, according to government filings, which includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers.
Amazon has raised the pay of thousands of workers in the United Kingdom and U.S., after coming under increasing fire from campaigners over its low wages.
Critics, including independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have criticized Amazon for not paying workers enough.
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Amazon's market capitalization now stands near $1 trillion; it paid Bezos, its founder and CEO, $1.68 million a year ago.
I've emailed Amazon to ask, though, and will update if I hear back.[Update:] Amazon got back to me to confirm that the new pay rise does not affect delivery drivers, and seemingly all other Amazon workers who are officially "self-employed": The announcement does not relate to delivery drivers.
From state to state, the minimum wage varies widely.
Jay Carney, Amazon's senior vice president for global corporate affairs, pledged that the company would advocate 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 company has named 20 cities as finalists, including Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C. This includes staff members hired by external agencies, and those working for Amazon subsidiaries like Whole Foods.
Amazon is raising its minimum wage for all employees to $15, a bump that could have implications throughout the U.S. workforce.
Amazon has previously contested some of Sanders' claims, saying its full-time warehouse workers already make $15 when stock and bonuses are included.