The $15 minimum wage is a flashpoint for disagreement. Many workers and labor activists say such pay is needed to provide millions of workers with a livable income.
On the other hand, some business owners say they cannot afford the wage, and that it will force them to eliminate jobs.
Amid this back and forth, a handful of companies have declared the question settled. These businesses have embraced the $15 minimum wage and are paying their employees at least that much — and sometimes, much more.
Following are companies where the $15 minimum wage is now reality, or soon will be.
In March, there were a record number of job openings in the U.S. — 8.1 million. And yet, businesses are struggling to fill those positions. Whatever the true reasons for the lack of job applicants — some blame overly generous unemployment benefits, others point to fears of COVID-19 and lack of access to affordable child care — businesses are responding.
Today, McDonald’s announced it will boost pay in an effort to hire thousands of workers. Company-owned restaurants will increase their average hourly wage to $13 over the next few months and to $15 by 2024.
Only 5% of McDonald’s locations are company-owned, but the fast food giant said it’s encouraging franchise locations to boost pay, too.
Amazon was an early adopter of the $15 minimum wage, paying that much as far back as 2018. Now, the retail giant says it will hike wages even higher. From mid-May to early June, more than 500,000 employees will get pay increases ranging from 50 cents to $3 an hour.
The retail giant also announced today that it is hiring 75,000 workers as it expands its fulfillment and logistics network in the U.S. and Canada. The average starting pay for these positions is more than $17 per hour, with sign-on bonuses of up to $1,000 available in many locations.
Chipotle said on Monday that needs to fill 20,000 positions. In hopes of doing so, it is offering starting wages as high as $18. By the end of June, the company pledges its average hourly wage will be $15.
4. Signet Jewelers
Signet Jewelers — the parent company of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H. Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda and JamesAllen.com — said in February it will raise its minimum wage to $15. The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry plans to complete the process by spring 2022.
Costco has taken the $15 minimum wage and upped the ante. In February, the warehouse club raised its minimum wage to $16 an hour.
At the time, Costco chief executive Craig Jelinek noted that the retailer also tries to compensate its employees in other ways. For example, 89% of Costco workers are eligible for health care benefits.
6. Titanium Wireless
When Titanium Wireless raises wages, it doesn’t fool around. In January, the company announced that the “minimum wage for every employee — including entry level — is $70,000 annually.” Benefits are improved, too — including “unlimited paid time off and 100% medical, dental and vision coverage for employees.”
The wireless telecommunications carrier located in Gulf Breeze, Florida, noted that in 2020, it saw record revenue growth, but struggled to retain employees. The wage hike is intended to reverse the tide.
Since January, all U.S. employees at the online retailer of home products have made at least $15 an hour. At the time, the company announced that more than 40% of Wayfair’s hourly employees would get a pay increase immediately.
The coffee giant is taking a slow-and-steady approach to reaching the $15 wage. Last December, the company announced that all of its employees would earn $15 within two to three years. As the new year dawned, 30% of its workers already made more than that amount.
9. Hobby Lobby
Way back in the mists of time — 2014, to be exact — Hobby Lobby raised its full-time minimum hourly wage to $15.
That put the retailer ahead of the curve, and it has continued its pace-setting role ever since. Last October, Hobby Lobby increased its full-time minimum hourly wage to $17.
10. Best Buy
The electronics retailer raised its minimum wage to $15 in August 2020. Today, the average employee at Best Buy makes $17.67.
In June 2020, Target announced it would raise its starting wage to $15 per hour for all U.S. employees. It was the culmination of a steady series of pay hikes that began three years earlier.
12. Charter Communications
Finally, the telecommunications and mass media company Charter Communications announced in April 2020 that it was hiking its minimum wage up to $20 per hour.
The increase went into effect immediately for frontline field technicians and customer service call center employees, “who are the face of our company to our nearly 30 million customers and who are providing critical services to our communities, emergency relief workers, and government entities,” the company said.