Target announced Wednesday that it is permanently raising its minimum wage for U.S. hourly workers to $15 an hour. The increase, which is set for all U.S. hourly full-time and part-time team members at stores, distribution centers and headquarters locations, will go into effect beginning July 5. The company will also give all hourly employees a one-time bonus of $200 "or their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic."
In a statement, Target CEO Brian Cornell thanked employees for their hard work, stating that "in the best of times, our team brings incredible energy and empathy to our work," according to Business Insider. He went on to remark that during more difficult times, such as the ongoing pandemic, employees "bring those qualities plus extraordinary resilience and agility to keep Target on the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests and our business year after year." Cornell added that "everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose and the connection they create with our guests and communities."
According to CNBC, the raise will affect approximately 275,000 Target employees. The company employs more than 350,000 employees across nearly 1,900 stores across the U.S. Employees in some cities, such as New York City and San Francisco, however, already had wages of at least $15 an hour. With the raise as well as other bonuses, the company will spend nearly $1 billion more this year than it did last year on employee-related expenses.
The Wednesday announcement comes after the retailer made a pledge in 2017 to increase the minimum hourly wage for all workers to $15 an hour by the end of this year. Last June, the company raised the minimum wage to $13 per hour, reiterating its goal to pump that number to $15 an hour in 2020.
In March, Target announced a temporary $2 an hour raise, bringing hourly pay to $15, for its store and distribution workers who were working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, the company announced that it would be extending that raise through July 4, with Cornell stating that "these pay and benefits extensions are intended to help you and your family do just that as we all continue to support each other and move forward," the Star Tribune reported at the time. The company also extended other pandemic-related benefits, including 30-day paid leave for high-risk employees who are 65 years or older, are pregnant, or have underlying health conditions, through June 30.