Amazon has doubled its minimum wage for its US workers, with the company increasing its previous $7.25 per hour minimum wage to $15 per hour. This comes in the wake of a storm of controversy, in which the online retailer was criticized for its reportedly poor working conditions and low pay despite Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos‘s increasing net worth.
The new wage will be effective beginning November 1st, 2018, with Bezos saying that the retailer’s critics had led the company to make the decision. The wage increase is said to benefit over 250,000 employees, along with over 100,000 season employees who will be hired by Amazon over the holiday season. 40,000 UK workers will also see their pay rise to £10.50 in London and £9.50 throughout the rest of the country.
“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.”
Additionally, Amazon is now looking to gain Congressional support in order to increase the federal minimum wage in general. Jay Carney, Amazon Global Corporate Affairs’ senior vice president, stated that the e-commerce company was now looking to “benefit the lives of tens of millions of people” across the US.
There’s no word yet on how Amazon plans to advocate for an increase in the federal minimum wage, though this represents a complete tonal shift in how the company treats its employees. With Bezos having a net worth of over $160 billion, Amazon had been widely criticized for its treatment of its employees. According to data obtained earlier this year (via Business Insider), Amazon is one of the top employers of those who receive food stamps.
Bezos previously defended Amazon’s wages, saying that he was “very proud” of the amount paid to employees and the company’s working conditions.
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