The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor — a rate that barely constitutes a living wage in many states. A family of four relying upon the minimum wage falls below the poverty line.
Only six states have a minimum wage of $10 per hour or more, and only 10 have a minimum wage greater than $12 per hour. Regardless of the federal or state minimum wage, the following companies are trying to rectify this imbalance and support their workers by paying a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more.
Last updated: Oct. 12, 2021
Aetna, the health insurance company, increased its minimum base hourly wage for U.S. employees to $16 per hour in April 2015. For most of its (at the time) 5,700 employees, this was an 11% increase, but for some, it was as high as a 33% increase. Aetna also increased its benefits program to help lower out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
The grocery chain Aldi is seeking to hire 20,0000 new store and warehouse employees. In August 2021, it increased the starting wage for store and warehouse employees to the range of $15 to $19 per hour, respectively. Its employees are also eligible for benefits.
In 2018 Amazon opted to increase its minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees in the U.S. Employees are also eligible for benefits that include medical, dental and vision; paid life and disability insurance; up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave; and 401(k) matching.
Bank of America
In 2017, Bank of America, one of the biggest financial institutions in the U.S., made a commitment to raise the U.S. minimum hourly wage to $25 by 2025. Then, in 2021, it required its U.S. vendors to pay their employees a minimum of $15 per hour.
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Best Buy, the electronics retailer, took “extensive employee feedback” and came up with a new pay strategy for its U.S. employees on Aug. 2, 2020. All employees received a 4% increase in hourly wage, and those whose wages were below $15 per hour received an increase to that wage.
The communications company announced in 2018 that all employees would be paid a starting wage of $18 per hour, and in April 2020 that it would permanently raise its minimum starting wage to $20 per hour in 2022. Employees will receive annual increases of $1.50 an hour in 2020 and 2021 (raising the starting hourly wage to $16.50 and then $18).
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Chipotle Mexican Grill is looking to hire 20,000 new employees in the U.S. As an incentive, the restaurant announced in June 2021 that it has increased its wages to a $15 hourly average, resulting in hourly crew member starting wages ranging from $11-$18 per hour. Chipotle is also offering a $200 employee referral bonus for crew members and a $750 referral bonus for apprentices or general managers.
Global health services company Cigna raised its minimum wage for U.S. employees to $16 per hour in 2018. It also implemented a caregiver leave program of additional paid time off for employees caring for others.
In addition, front-line employees may see salary increases to more than $16 per hour. Cigna also added $30 million to its 401(k) matching program, benefiting the retirement accounts of more than 30,000 employees.
The wholesale retailer Costco increased its starting wage to $16 per hour in February 2021, up from a $15 base the company instituted two years ago. It did do away with hazard pay but plans to use that to increase the wages of all employees. Costco officials say that more than half of Costco employees earn as much as $25 per hour.
CVS Health is raising its minimum hourly wage to $15 per hour effective July 2022, with incremental increases to its current hourly wages already underway. The company reports that as much as 65% of hourly employees are already earning more than $15 an hour.
Fifth Third Bancorp
The financial institution Fifth Third Bancorp announced in 2019 that it was raising its minimum wage to $18 per hour. This was its second hourly wage hike since 2018 when it raised its minimum hourly rate from $12 to $15. Fifth Third has ATMs and banks throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina.
Hobby Lobby, the craft chain store, has been a leader in raising its wages since 2009. In 2014, it raised its full-time minimum hourly wage to $15 per hour. In October 2020, its minimum wage went up to $17 per hour.
In January 2018, the financial services company JPMorgan Chase announced a $20 billion investment strategy that included an increase in the minimum wage increase for its employees, to $15 to 18 per hour.
PNC Bank has committed to raising its minimum pay from $15 to $18 per hour starting Nov. 22, 2021. This rate increase will affect PNC employees in legacy markets and BBVA USA employees converting to PNC in October.
Sam’s Club, a subsidiary of Walmart, raised its starting wage to $15 per hour as of Sept. 25, 2021. This raises its average hourly rate to over $17.
In 2018, Santander, a subsidiary of Madrid-based Banco Santander and one of the top retail and commercial banks in the U.S. by deposits, announced it was raising its minimum pay rate to $15 per hour. Santander has more than 650 branches and nearly 2,100 ATMs located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, with headquarters in Boston.
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Signet, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, will complete its $15 minimum wage rollout for all full-time and part-time positions by spring 2022. The company’s most well-known name brands are Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda and JamesAllen.com.
Target raised its starting pay to $15 per hour as of July 5, 2020. Additionally, the company provided $200 one-time bonuses to all front-line team members who provided essential services during the pandemic. All U.S. employees also receive access to free virtual healthcare visits.
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In June 2021, Under Armour, the sports equipment and apparel company, made a significant minimum pay increase for hourly U.S. employees, from $10 to $15 per hour. This applies to its retail locations and distribution houses.
Starting in October 2021, the pharmacy chain Walgreens will begin to increase the starting hourly wage for all employees to $15 per hour by November 2022.
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The Boston-based online retailer focused on home goods raised its starting pay for full-time, part-time and seasonal employees across the U.S. to $15 an hour in January 2021. This wage increase affects 40% of the company’s employees.
The financial services company Wells Fargo raised its minimum hourly pay levels in most of its U.S. markets. Pay is tiered according to factors such as cost of living in different markets, so the new minimum hourly pay ranges from $15 to $20 based on where employees are based.
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Methodology: For this support piece, GOBankingRates looked at contemporary news stories and/or press releases from companies that have announced increased minimum wages starting at $15/hour. All data was collected on, and considered up to date as of, Oct. 5, 2021. This is not comprehensive, but a representative list of well-known companies with a minimum $15/hour starting salary.