Retail company Target has announced that it will pay its employees a minimum wage of $11 per hour before the end of 2017, with an eye toward raising their wages to $15 per hour by 2020.
On Sept. 25, Target CEO Brian Cornell announced that his company would use a portion of its $7 billion investment plan to raise employees' wages to $11 per hour in October. The retail giant will also reportedly raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2020.
"Target has always offered market-competitive wages to our team members," Cornell said, according to CNBC. "With this latest commitment, we'll be providing even more meaningful pay, as well as the tools, training and support ... that set Target apart."
Target paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour until April 2015, when the company raised its compensation to $9 per hour. Wal-Mart, a competitor in the discount retail market, currently pays its employees a minimum of $10 per hour.
Now Target will pay a higher minimum wage than 48 U.S. states, save for Massachusetts and Washington, which both have a statewide minimum wage of $11 per hour.
The retail giant has invested $7 billion into improving its stores nationwide. The company has not altered its fiscal 2017 financial projections despite the minimum wage raise, indicating that the bump in employee pay is being drawn from the previously announced infusion of cash.
"Making this investment in our Target team will allow us to continue to recruit and retain strong team members and serve our guests," Cornell told journalists during a conference call, according to Fortune.
Target currently employs over 320,000 people. Cornell did not specify if all of his company's workers would receive the wage increase.
The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009. On May 25, several prominent congressional Democrats introduced legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour nationwide by 2024. The effort was spearheaded by Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Washington Examiner reports.
"If you are working 40 or 50 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty," Sanders said in a statement.
On June 1, a survey conducted by the University of Maryland Program for Public Consultation found that the majority of national adults supported raising the federal minimum wage, The Hill reports.
The vast majority, 74 percent, of respondents supported raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour by 2019, while 57 percent supported an increase to $10.10 per hour by 2020. And 63 percent of respondents believed that legislators should pass a law that would raise the minimum wage in tandem with economic inflation.