Retail giant Target announced last Monday that it’s raising the starting pay of some positions to $24 an hour. This will apply to hourly workers at its discount stores, supply chain facilities, and corporate headquarters.
Target’s Minimum Wage Remains $15
When the pandemic broke out in 2020, Target adjusted its minimum wage to $15. However, the company considered the nature of some jobs and prevailing rates in some local areas.
As a result, the company adjusted its starting pay to $24 per hour to certain positions it identified.
The changes come as more retailers and restaurant chains started offering a starting pay of $15 per hour minimum wage. Amazon started the ball rolling in 2018 when it offered workers $15 an hour.
Best Buy and other retailers followed suit when the pandemic became full-blown and workers became hard to find. Many employees dreaded catching coronavirus at work so stayed at home instead.
Meanwhile, the US’s largest retailer Walmart, announced last September that it bumped its front-end workers’ pay to $12 per hour. This covered around 565,000 workers.
$300 Million Fund to Improve Worker Pay and Benefit
The funding for the increase in starting pay will come from the company’s $300 million infusions into its workforce budget. The budget also includes expanding access to healthcare benefits for hourly workers beginning this April.
Those who work a minimum of 25 hours a week will now qualify to enroll in the company’s medical plan. This is an improvement from the previous requirement of 30 hours per week.
In addition, Target will also shorten its waiting period for eligible employees to qualify for Target’s medical plan.
Depending on their position, these new employees can avail of health care benefits three to nine months earlier than previous plans. At the same time, workers can get faster access to 401(k) plans.
Inflation Outpacing Wage Increases
The Consumer Price Index registered a 7% jump between December last year and December 2020. According to the US Department of Labor, this is the fastest rate of increase since June 1982. On average, a consumer who used to pay $100 for a product will now pay $107 for the same item.
However, average worker pay went up by 4.7% in 2021. This means that despite the pay bump, higher consumer prices began eating into household budgets.
All things considered, the average American worker got a 2.4% pay cut last year. This is according to seasonally adjusted data published by the Labor Department.
Target Hopes To Attract New Employees During Worker Shortage
The decision by Target to bump its starting pay happens amid an ongoing shortage of workers. Mainly because of the COVID pandemic, many retail companies are struggling to fill their staffing requirements.
Many retail workers are quitting en masse and moving on to less strenuous jobs that offer higher pay.
The Shift Project is a joint venture by Harvard University and the University of California in San Francisco. They attribute the reluctance of retail workers to return to the frontlines to a seemingly dead-end job.
It said that “workers continue to contend with chronically unpredictable and unstable work schedules.” This is alongside health risks and work-related stress, especially during the pandemic.
Watch the Yahoo Finance video reporting that Target raises its starting wage range to $15 to $24 per hour:
Do you support Target’s move to increase the starting pay of certain workers to $24 an hour? Also, do you think other stores will follow this hike?
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