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Yesterday, Amazon announced that it will be increasing the minimum wage for all of its US employees – full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies), and seasonal employees. They raised the wages of employees in the UK as well from £8 to £9.50 an hour.

The $15 minimum wage will affect more a total of more than 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal temporary employees who will be hired across US this holiday season. This new policy is effective from November 1.

Amazon’s move to increase wages comes after recent pressure from campaigns criticizing Amazon’s pay policies. US Senator Bernie Sanders publicly accused Amazon of underpaying its workers and introduced a bill called Stop BEZOS act last month. The bill also known as ‘Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies’ was aimed to force Amazon and other large companies to increase the living wages paid to workers.

Currently, an Amazon Warehouse Worker earns $13 on average an hour. The new wages will add $2 an hour, which may not look like much but will add about $4,000 to yearly wages of employees who were making $13 till now.

Amazon currently offers restricted stock units (RSU) which cannot be used by employees. So, keeping in mind employee preferences, the RSU stock grant program in Amazon will be replaced by a direct stock purchase plan for hourly employees and customer service employees. Amazon said that they will also work towards getting Congressional support for increasing the federal minimum wage. The current rate, $7.25, was set nearly a decade ago and is low.

Amazon is phasing out the incentive pay component and $15 will be an effective minimum wage which won’t require any additional targets to be met. The wage policy will affect Amazon’s hourly operations and customer service employees who also see an increase, including those already getting paid $15.

This does not affect the current benefits Amazon offers its employees which include:

  • A comprehensive healthcare plan including medical, dental, and vision cover
  • Almost 20 weeks of paid parental leaves
  • Matching 401k of employees
  • Paying 95% of associates’ tuition in advance for courses in high-demand fields, irrespective of whether those jobs are at Amazon or not
  • Training hourly associates in critical job skills like resume writing, effective communication, and basic computer operating knowledge

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO stated: “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead. We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

To know more visit the Amazon website.

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