It’s time to raise the federal minimum wage

Amazon is proud to support the Raise the Wage Act, which was introduced in January by Senators Bernie Sanders and Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott. This bill would incrementally increase the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, to $15 an hour by 2025. By increasing hourly wages for 32 million hard-working people, it would also increase spending, pump money into local businesses and boost our economic recovery. The benefits of hourly wage increased are clear. In fact, Amazon has seen them firsthand.

In 2018, Amazon announced a starting wage of at least $15 an hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the U.S.—in addition to the comprehensive healthcare, paid leave and upskilling benefits that begin on day one. In most parts of the country, Amazon’s starting wage is even higher than $15 an hour, and many of our hourly employees make more. In 2020, we created more than 400,000 new jobs across the U.S. and currently provide over 1.1 million U.S. employees with industry-leading pay and benefits. We believe $15 an hour is the minimum anyone in the U.S. should be paid for an hour of labor. We also believe it’s good for business.

Once we increased our starting wage to $15 an hour, the positive impact on employee morale and retention—and the surge in job applicants—was immediate. In fact, the month after we raised our starting wage, applications for hourly positions more than doubled. Employees who saw their paychecks increase told us that they had an easier time providing for their families and were able to spend on things like car repairs and home improvement projects. In short, the investments we made in our hourly employees were quickly transferred to local businesses and economies. And the ripple effect didn’t stop there. We were thrilled when several other major companies also increased wages to at least $15 an hour for their employees and are hopeful that more follow suit.

We also hope that Congress will act quickly to help U.S. workers and their families by increasing the federal minimum wage. As we take steps to recover from the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s workers in need of a raise, small businesses that will benefit from increased spending and the country’s broader economic recovery simply can’t wait.

-Jay Carney, Senior Vice President, Amazon Global Corporate Affairs