Costco is raising its minimum wage to $ 16 for its hourly store workers


An employee arranges Apple Inc. AirPods for sale at a Costco Wholesale Corp. store in San Francisco, California.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | fake images

Costco is raising its minimum hourly wage to $ 16, putting its starting salary above many of its rivals like Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.

“Two years ago, we changed our starting hourly wage to $ 15 across the United States. Starting next week, the starting wage will be $ 16,” said Craig Jelinek, Costco CEO, during a committee hearing Senate budget Thursday.

The retailer has more than 180,000 employees in the US and 275,000 employees worldwide.

This move comes as Congress debates raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour as part of President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill.

Target and Amazon pay hourly workers a minimum of $ 15 an hour. Walmart’s minimum wage starts at $ 11 an hour, but it recently announced raises for 425,000 employees that will raise the retailer’s median wage to more than $ 15 an hour. Walmart is the largest employer in the country.

Starting in March of last year, the chain instituted a $ 2 an hour premium for its employees to help cushion the financial strain that the pandemic brought to many people.

“As we approach the one-year mark of this additional payment, we will limit the temporary premium, but we will convert part of the premium into a permanent increase by increasing each step in the hourly pay scales,” said Jelinek.

Costco employees in the US have been with the company for more than nine years on average, with more than 60% of its workers averaging five years or more of service.

Costco has 803 locations around the world, including 558 in 45 US states, Washington, and Puerto Rico.

The company was not immediately available to comment further on its decision.

Correction: The hearing took place on Thursday. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date.

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