Amazon increases minimum wage for its American employees to $15

The retail giant employs thousands of people in Minnesota.
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Amazon's Minnesota workers can expect a pay rise in less than a month, as the online giant increases its minimum wage to $15-an-hour.

The new wage applies to all of its workers in the U.S., whether they're full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary employees, including those hired via agencies.

It comes into force on Nov. 1, so will benefit the 100,000 seasonal employees it will take on over the holidays.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the move was taken after "we listened to our critics," adding: "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

Among those benefiting in Minnesota will be those working at Amazon's gigantic fulfillment center and a delivery station in Eagan. Amazon employs around 2,000 people in total across Minnesota.

Amazon says its new wage will benefit 250,000 employees.

Amazon now pays its workers more than Minnesota's own Target, which raised its minimum wage to $12 this past spring, and intends to raise it to $15 by 2020.

That said, Target has not seen quite as many complaints about working conditions from its employees compared to Amazon, which has been the subject of a number of critical articles featuring employees complaining about hot warehouses, short breaks and working under intense pressure, as this Business Insider report reveals.A

Amazon's Eagan center was the subject of a protest from predominantly Muslim workers in May, who said they were dehydrated, exhausted and suffered injuries as a result of working at the delivery center, which was exacerbated during Ramadan.

The company has pushed back on complaints against its working conditions, saying it offers employees competitive pay and benefits that make it an attractive place to work.

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As well as encouraging other companies to follow his lead, Amazon will also start advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25-an-hour.

"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago," 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."

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