Amazon shares closed lower in the US Tuesday, following the news the global tech firm has announced plans to raise its minimum wage for its US employees, to $15 per hour. The new minimum level will apply to all staff, including part-timers and seasonal, agency hires.
Amazon shares ended the US Tuesday session 1.65% higher at $1,971.31. The stock is currently higher in out-of-hours trade.
Amazon’s new minimum wage
Amazon said Tuesday it is raising its minimum US staff wage to $15 per hour, across all contract types. The business said that after much thought it felt a stand on minimum wage in the US was required.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
The global tech giant is also planning to begin advocating for a higher national US minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 after being set almost ten years ago.
“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage,” said Jay Carney, Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs. “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.”
Amazon said its decision, which will come into force from November 1st, will benefit over 250,000 regular staff, plus an additional 100,000 seasonal workers.
Praise for the change
The US senator for Vermont, Bernie Sanders praised the etail behemoth for its minimum US wage increase. Sanders said Bezos was “doing exactly the right thing”.
Sanders also called upon other profitable businesses to follow Bezos’ lead.
“What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world. I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos' lead,” Sanders tweeted.