Amazon also raised its minimum wage in Britain to 10.50 pounds ($13.59) an hour for all employees in the London area and 9.50 pounds an hour for staff in all other parts of the country, effective from November 1.
Bezos responded with a tweet of his own, and said he also hoped that other companies would raise their wages as well.
Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott this spring vetoed a $15 minimum wage bill, saying it was not business-friendly. It will climb to $13 in July 2019. This estimation of Bezos' hourly wage is being used for the sake of comparison.
Amazon said it would increase its minimum wage for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has been vocal about low wages paid at USA corporations and has proposed legislation, nicknamed the "Bezos Bill", aimed at making large corporations pay workers more.
The new minimum wage for Amazon workers far exceeds the $7.25 federal minimum pay; Amazon says it will set the mark for more than 250,000 current employees, as well as more than 100,000 seasonal employees it plans to hire for the coming holiday season. Unemployment in the U.S.is 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low. That's a negative 1.3 point differential over the first eight months of the year, compared to a 0.8 point drop from January to August 2017. That's the fastest annual gain since the Great Recession ended almost a decade ago. "Having major, profitable employers like Amazon join the fight could help finally unstick it", Executive Director Christine Owens said in a statement. Several California cities mandate a higher minimum wage.
Yet despite the tight labor market, Allegretto said, wage growth has been pretty tepid. That's a big change from the company's previous policy, where starting pay was dependent on location and type of work, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The movecomes as Amazon was under fire for an median employee salary of $28,446.
Bezos also drew praise from frequent critic Sen.
Acknowledging his past criticism of the company and its leader for paying unlivable wages, Sanders congratulated Bezos for doing the right thing. Bezos thanked Sanders for his support on Twitter Tuesday.
The change applies to Whole Foods and all other subsidiary employees.
The state has the highest minimum wage in the U.S. Target and Walmart have made similar moves.
Some employers pay even more. Walmart is now the largest private employer in the nation, with a workforce topping 1.5 million employees.
"With many municipalities raising minimum wage over the next few years to approaching $US15 per hour, this was not really a stretch for them to do that". This past spring, it raised its starting hourly pay for its workers to $12. Target is aiming to pay at least $15 to every employee by 2020. With Tuesday's move, Amazon has done that already. Walmart increased its minimum wage for employees to US$11; many other companies also raised wages or gave bonuses to employees after the passage of the tax reform bill late a year ago.