Amazon is raising the bar when it comes to employee wages. The retail giant, which employs more than 250,000 permanent and 100,000 temporary workers, recently announced plans to raise the minimum wage for all employees to $15 per hour. The change also applies to employees of Amazon-owned Whole Foods and all other subsidiaries.
As one of the largest employers in the United States, this change reaches far beyond the immediate impact on Amazon employers. The company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also happens to be the richest man alive with an estimated net worth of $156 billion, released a statement that he's excited about the change and encourages other large U.S. employers to follow suit.
A Trend Towards Higher Wages
Amazon can take credit for leading the way in implementing these wage increases, but several other large employers are also moving in the same direction.
In February of this year, Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 per hour. In September, Target began paying newly-hired employees a $12 per hour minimum wage. The company plans to increase this to $15 per hour by the year 2020.
Disney will pay a $15 minimum wage to its California employees beginning in 2019 and will extend the wage minimum the Florida employees by 2021.
Push for a Higher Federal Minimum Wage
Amazon also plans to use its public policy team to push for a raise to the Federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour. This could be a boost to the current efforts fast food employees have made to push for a national $15 minimum wage through the Fight for 15 movement.
Pros and Cons of the Change
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage look forward to decreasing the gap in wage equality and believe the change will boost the economy by increasing consumer spending. Others argue that mandatory wage increases will make it difficult for younger and inexperienced workers to find entry-level jobs.
For Amazon, the change brings an advantage when it comes to recruiting quality employees in a tight labor market. This move puts the company in a prime position for the upcoming busy holiday season. Competitors will soon have to jump on board to match these wages if they want to keep attracting quality talent.
Impact on Florida Employers
Many U.S. states have set their own minimum wage requirements that are higher than the Federal minimum wage. As of January 1st, 2018, Florida's minimum wage is set at $8.25 per hour. You can expect the trend towards higher wages to continue and spread across the nation. Florida employers who want to compete for top talent will need to budget for higher wages and possibly explore other employment perks and benefits. Re-evaluating your labor needs now can help put you in the driver's seat when the inevitable occurs.