On November 1, 2018, Amazon became one of the first companies in the U.S. to implement a companywide $15-an-hour minimum wage. In the three years since, we’ve heard from our employees how the wage increase has positively changed their lives and their family’s lives, and we recently announced a new average starting wage of $18 an hour. Moving to a $15 minimum wage in 2018—and now raising it again—was the right thing to do, and I am proud of Amazon for taking a leadership role on this important issue.
Since 2018, we’ve used our voice to encourage policymakers and other companies to raise the minimum wage for everyone. In two separate Congresses, we talked to hundreds of federal policymakers about the importance of a $15 minimum wage and endorsed the Raise the Wage Act. We’ve been disappointed Congress has been unable to pass the bill, but we’re pleased that many states have enacted higher minimum wages since our 2018 announcement. Amazon has been an active supporter and advocate for higher minimum wage legislation in state capitols, and we applaud the 29 states that have set wages above the federal minimum wage. Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, New Mexico, Connecticut, Nevada, and Delaware have all enacted legislation since our announcement in 2018.
We also applaud the many companies that have raised their starting wages to $15 since 2018. And we urge those large employers that still have hourly wages below $15 to do the right thing for their employees, their employees’ families, and their communities.
In April, Amazon announced a new leadership principle: Strive to Be Earth’s Best Employer. We know we still have work to do, but we are proud of the progress we’ve made to reach our goal—from raising our average starting wage to $18 per hour and providing free college tuition for all front-line employees, to deciding to no longer make employment decisions based on marijuana testing. As the largest creator of private sector jobs over the last decade, we know it is our responsibility to empower our employees. Amazon will continue to drive company policies and public policies in support of our new leadership principle. We also hope sometime soon we can applaud Congress for finally passing the Raise the Wage Act.