Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 for U.S. employees

Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 for U.S. employees

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", said Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos in the statement.

In addition to committing to higher minimum pay, Amazon says it will "work with policymakers in Washington, D.C., to advocate for a higher federal minimum wage".

Amazon said company lobbyists will also begin advocating for an increase in the USA federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

Amazon's employment practices, especially for those working on the company's numerous front lines, have frequently been criticized.

Amazon announced on Tuesday it is raising its minimum wage in the USA to $15. Amazon purchased the Whole Foods grocery chain in August 2017.

Amazon is rolling out a $15-an-hour minimum wage for all of its US employees, a response to criticism that the company was profiting from work done by low-paid workers even as founder Jeff Bezos became the world's richest man. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us".

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Amazon, which became the second company to cross $1 trillion market value last month, on average paid employees $28,446 previous year. "The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago", Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon global corporate affairs, said in a statement.

Workers across the country have pushed for a $15 minimum wage as they have drawn attention to growing income inequality. Disney reached a deal with its unions to pay a minimum of $15 an hour at Disneyland in California in 2019 and at Disney World in Florida by 2021. The proposed law says companies that don't pay a living wage should have to reimburse the tax authorities for the federal benefits paid out to their low-wage workers.

Workers have been protesting against fast food chains like McDonald's Corp and demanding wage increases since 2012.

Amazon shares, trading lower before the company announced the wage hike, were down less than 0.3 percent at $1,997.75 in trading before the bell.

Amazon will also be raising their own minimum wage in the United Kingdom to £9.50 ($12.30), and in the London area to £10.50 ($13.60).

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