Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, who is the wealthiest person in the world, announced on Tuesday that his company will raise salaries for U.S. employees to a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Effective on November 1, “more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as more than 100,000 seasonal holiday employees, and their families will benefit from the new, higher pay,” a statement reads.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Bezos said. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
They added that “Amazon’s public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.”
Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, which Jay Carney, Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs, notes was set nearly a decade ago.
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“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,” he said in the statement.
The announcement comes months after the company disclosed that the average Amazon employee was paid less than $30,000 in 2017, according to Market Watch.
Bernie Sanders also criticized Amazon, according to Business Insider, and introduced a bill in September called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act. The act would tax large companies that have employees who rely on financial assistance from the government.