National Public Radio
Costco plans to edge up its starting wage to $16 an hour starting next week, CEO W. Craig Jelinek said on Thursday, revealing plans that would propel his company ahead of most of its retail competitors.
Costco raised its starting pay to $15 per hour in 2019. More than half of Costco’s hourly workers in the U.S. are paid above $25, Jelinek told the Senate Budget Committee during a hearing on pay at large retail and fast-food employers. Costco employs about 180,000 U.S. workers.
“I want to note this isn’t altruism,” Jelinek said. “At Costco we know that paying employees good wages … makes sense for our business and constitutes a significant competitive advantage for us. It helps us in the long run by minimizing turnover and maximizing employee productivity.”
Jelinek’s testimony comes as Congress seeks to advance legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
In a recent survey of small businesses, however, the majority came out against a $15 federal minimum wage. A third said they would likely lay off workers if Congress passed the plan, according to a poll by CNBC and SurveyMonkey.