Costco is raising its minimum wage to $16 an hour for its U.S. store workers


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

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

“Two years ago, we moved our starting hourly wage to $15 everywhere in the U.S. Effective next week, the starting wage will go to $16,” said Costco CEO Craig Jelinek during a Senate budget committee hearing on Wednesday.

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

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

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

“As we approach the one-year mark of this extra pay, we will limit the temporary premium, but convert some of the premium to a permanent increase by raising each step on hourly wage scales,” said Jelinek.

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

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

The company wasn’t immediately available to comment further on its decision.


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