The web giant said on Tuesday that it would increase its minimum wage for employees across the United Kingdom to at least £9.50 an hour outside London, and £10.50 in the capital.
With the announcement, Amazon also said it would lobby Congress for a raise in the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage.
In another change, Amazon will phase out its Restricted Stock Unit program for order fulfillment and customer service employees who are paid hourly.
Lawmakers and unions have been calling for change at big U.S. corporations, with Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders proposing legislation nicknamed the "Bezos Bill" aimed at making them pay workers more.More news: Google Maps Adds New Features to Assist Workers With Their Commute
The hourly rate increase has no impact on the benefits Amazon already offers workers.
Sanders has personally targeted Bezos, criticizing the billionaire for paying low wages while being the world's richest man. Washington state has the highest minimum wage in the country at $11.50 per hour, and Seattle, like New York City, has implemented a $15 minimum. The federal minimum wage hasn't risen since 2009.
Bezos responded to Sanders on Twitter, thanking the senator and expressing hope that other companies will make similar policy changes.
Last fall Target committed to giving its employees $15 per hour by the end of 2020.
Amazon said the $15 minimum wage will apply to more than 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees. The retail labor market certainly favors workers right now; at the same time, raising pay is a good publicity move for Amazon, particularly in light of recent criticism. The company's rapid growth requires "a lot of recruitment which is becoming increasingly hard in a tight labor market", he said. The median pay for an Amazon employee previous year was $28,446, according to government filings, which includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Amazon bought Whole Foods previous year for almost $14 billion. That comes to $13.68 an hour.
To which critics is Bezos referring? Sen.