Costco is elevating its minimal wage to $16 for its hourly retailer employees

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

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Costco is increasing its hourly minimum wage to $ 16, beating its starting wage over many of its competitors like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.

“Two years ago we raised our starting hourly wage across the US to $ 15. Starting next week, the starting wage will rise to $ 16,” said Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco, during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Thursday.

The retailer employs more than 180,000 people in the US and 275,000 people worldwide.

That move comes when Congress debates raising the minimum wage by $ 15 an hour under President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Relief Act by $ 1.9 trillion.

Target and Amazon both pay hourly workers at least $ 15 an hour. Walmart’s minimum wage starts at $ 11 an hour. However, increases were recently announced for 425,000 employees that will bring the retailer’s median wage to over $ 15 an hour. Walmart is the largest employer in the country.

As of March last year, the chain has given its employees a $ 2 an hour bonus to help cushion the financial burden the pandemic put on many people.

“As we approach the one-year limit on this additional pay, we will cap the temporary premium but convert some of the premium into a permanent increase by increasing every step on the hourly pay scale,” said Jelinek.

Costco employees in the United States have been with the company for an average of nine years, with more than 60% of employees having an average of five years or more.

Costco has 803 locations worldwide, including 558 in 45 states, Washington and Puerto Rico.

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

Correction: The hearing took place on Thursday. In an earlier version of this story, the date was incorrectly given.

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