Home goods retailer Wayfair has joined the growing ranks of large companies that have vowed to raise their minimum wages to at least $15 an hour.
The Boston-based company announced its new minimum wage for its workers across the US on Thursday morning, just days after the increase took effect.
A Wayfair spokeswoman said the change helps about 3,900 out of the company’s estimated 8,000 hourly employees — either by lifting their pay to $15, or increasing the pay rates for people who were already at or above that amount. Wayfair also employs an additional 8,000 salaried workers who generally make considerably more than the $15 per hour floor, which translates to about $30,000 a year.
“One of the things we’ve always wanted to be is a real desired employer of choice,” chief executive Niraj Shah said in an interview. “Part of that is the culture. Part of that is the ambition and the work we do. Part of that is a market-leading compensation and benefits package.”
Wayfair joins several large employers that have already made similar commitments, including online retail rival Amazon, which adopted a $15 minimum about two years ago. Others that have raised their minimums to $15 or higher include Bank of America, Costco, Target, and Starbucks.
The corporate movement comes as labor and community advocates make a nationwide push, dubbed “Fight for $15,” that has helped lead to changes in minimum wages in several states. Here in Massachusetts, an effort led by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition in 2018 prompted a compromise with business groups known as the Grand Bargain. Under legislation enacted following that compromise, this state’s minimum wage will rise gradually to $15 an hour in 2023. Last week, hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers in Massachusetts saw their pay increase to $13.50 an hour from $12.75 as a result — the third of five annual increases. Other states on track to have a $15 minimum include Florida, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland.
But many states remain stuck with the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Shah noted Wayfair has three warehouses in Kentucky and two in Georgia, two places with a $7.25-per-hour minimum.
Wayfair said it has taken a number of other steps to compensate employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, including an ongoing pay premium of an extra $2 an hour for frontline workers at the warehouses, emergency paid time off, and childcare support.
Shah didn’t have an estimate for how much the new minimum wage would cost Wayfair, but he said the benefits outweigh the costs. “We want to attract the best talent,” he said. “[And] we think it’s the right thing to do.”