Chains That Pay Their Workers More Than Minimum Wage

Astonishingly, the federal minimum wage in the United States hasn’t increased in more than ten years. As of 2021, hourly workers across the US start at $7.25 per hour. Fortunately, many chains have hiked their wages up from the federal minimum, much to their employees’ delight.

From Costco to Trader Joe’s to CVS Health, here are some chains that pay their hourly workers more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr.

Amazon Supply Chain: $15/Hr

Amazon Supply Chain: $15/Hr
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of the Big Five information technology companies, Amazon, increased its minimum wage back in 2018. Well above the federal minimum, CEO Jeff Bezos raised hourly workers starting pay to $15 per hour.

In a statement he released that year, Bezos spoke of the raise, saying, “We strongly believe that this will benefit our business as we invest in our employees. But that is not what drove the decision…We did it because it seemed like the right thing to do.”

Trader Joe’s “Crew Members:” $16.17/Hr

Trader Joe's
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The grocery store Trader Joe’s has been acknowledged for its fair treatment of its employee, more than 50,000 of them. One reason is that the company pays the typical “crew member” well above the federal minimum, at $16.17/hr.

That rate was bumped up in 2021, though, as a “thank you” for working through unpredictable times. According to the Trader Joe’s website, “Effective February 1, 2021, the ‘thank you’ premium for all hourly, non-management crew members was increased by two dollars, for a total of $4 an hour.”

Ben & Jerry’s: $18.13/Hr

Ben & Jerry's: $18.13/Hr
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Founded in Burlington, Vermont, in 1978, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream chain enjoys letting its “home-base” workers know how much it appreciates their loyalty to the brand. That’s why, in 2020, the chain went through a “Livable Wages” campaign.

According to Ben & Jerry’s website, “Ben & Jerry’s commitment to economic justice starts with our employees. That’s why we’re committed to paying all of our Ben & Jerry’s Vermont full-time workers a livable wage…” That wage is a starting minimum of $18.13/hr.

CVS Health: $11/Hr

CVS Health
Johnny Louis/Getty Images
Johnny Louis/Getty Images

As of 2017, CVS Health has around 203,000 employees working out of 9,967 locations nationwide. That’s a lot of people to pay, not to mention the upkeep for each of the buildings. Fortunately, in 2018, the company announced its plan to raise its hourly employees’ starting wages to $11 per hour.

In a statement made by CVS CEO Larry Merlo, he said, “Today, we’re building on the investments we’ve been making in our employees, in their wages, benefits and career development.”

Bank Of America: $20/Hr

Bank Of America: $20/Hr
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In 2019, Bank of America announced its decision to raise its minimum wage in 2021. Then, they retracted that decision, opting to fast-forward the raise to the first quarter of 2020, much to the workers’ delight.

According to a statement released by the bank chain, the new minimum is “part of the company’s commitment to delivering sustainable, responsible growth by being a great place to work.” As of 2020, Bank of America’s starting wage is $20 per hour.

IKEA Sales Associates: $13.59/Hr

IKEA Sales Associates: $13.59/Hr
Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images
Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images

Since its founding in 1943, IKEA has grown into a multinational retail conglomerate with 378 locations worldwide as of 2021. Though the ready-to-build furniture company has raised its hourly minimum wage for its 200,000 employees in the past, it’s recently been raised yet again.

The starting wage for a sales associate is $13.59/hr. According to former acting IKEA president Rob Olson, “[the raise] it’s driven from our vision of wanting to create a better everyday life for our coworkers.”

Gap: $13.39/Hr

Gap: $13.39/Hr
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For a few years, the retail chain Gap has been one of those employers offering more than the federal minimum wage. Since 2014, the chain has raised its starting salary from $9 per hour to $10 per hour the very next year.

According to former CEO Glenn Murphy, “Our decision to invest in front line employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over.” Now, workers can expect an average of $13.39 per hour.

FedEx Delivery Drivers: $14.89/Hr

FedEx Delivery Drivers: $14.89/Hr
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FedEx is one of the world’s leading delivery companies, controlling 678 private planes, maintaining 180,000 trucks and other vehicles, and handling around 15 million shipments each business day. It’s no wonder the company has more than 600,000 employees, all of whom they want to take care of.

FedEx delivery drivers earn a minimum wage of $14.89 per hr. In 2021, the Express World Hub in Memphis is planning on boosting that minimum, even more, hoping to help combat poverty around the county.

Costco: $16/Hr

Costco: $16/Hr
Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

During an interview with NPR, Costco CEO W. Craig Jelinek spoke of raising the minimum wage for his employees, saying, “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.” In 2019, the starting minimum wage for workers was $15. As of 2021, that number has been bumped up to $16 per hour, with Jelinek saying the hourly employee earns closer to $24/hr.

Starbucks Baristas: $10.34/Hr

Costco: $16/Hr
Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images
Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Since the first Starbucks opened back in 1971, around 31,256 locations have opened around the world with 346,000 employees. And while the coffeehouse hadn’t changed its minimum wage for quite some time, the company had a change of heart in 2020, raising their barista wages to $10.34/hr.

During an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, a representative said, “this announcement is the next phase of our commitment to ensuring the well-being of partners (employees) with one of the most significant investments to hourly pay in the U.S. in the history of the company.”

Sephora Makeup Artists: $13.75/Hr

Sephora Makeup Artists: $13.75/Hr
Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images for SEPHORA
Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images for SEPHORA

The premier beauty retail store Sephora is home to more than 3,000 brands with over 2,600 stores across the globe, more than 460 of them being in the United States.

With multiple job opportunities at the store, including makeup artists, beauty advisors, and sales consultants, Sephora offers its hourly employees a wage well above the national average. While makeup artists earn $13.75/hr, beauty advisors look at a wage of $13.21/hr, and sales consultants earn $12.03/hr, according to PayScale.com.

Dollar Tree Assistant Managers: $11.01/Hr

Dollar Tree Assistant Managers: $11.01/Hr
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Dollar Tree operates 15,115 stores throughout the United States and Canada and employs around 193,100 workers. And while customers aren’t going to pay a huge sum for products they find at Dollar Tree, the company knows how to treat their hourly workers.

While the federal minimum wage is no more than $7.25, Dollar Tree pays its assistant store managers a solid $11.01 per hour while the cashiers make a little over the federal minimum, $8.30/hr.

Apple: $21.49/Hr

Apple
Xinhua/Cai Yang via Getty Images
Xinhua/Cai Yang via Getty Images

With Apple being one of the leading information technology companies, many tend to forget that Apple Inc is, in fact, a chain store. As of 2020, Apple has 510 retail stores up and running across the United States and employs more than 100,000 workers.

Out of that number, several of the chain’s hourly employees make more than the federal minimum wage. The resident Apple “Geniuses,” for example, make an average starting wage of $21.49 per hour!

Office Depot: Ranges From $10.69/Hr – $10.21/Hr

Office Depot
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Office Depot is part of the ODP Corporation that employs around 38,000 workers. With so many employees, it’s nice to know that the office supply chain offers a nice compensation package, including an hourly wage above the federal minimum.

An office Depot sales consultant can expect to earn around $10.58 per hour, while a retail sales consultant is looking at around $10.69 per hour, and a sales associate will earn $10.21 per hour.

Whole Foods Market: $15/Hr

Whole Foods Market: $15/Hr
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As of 2019, Whole Foods Market has 500 locations throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, employing around 91,000 workers. Recognized as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine, there’s a reason why full-time staff enjoys working for the grocery store.

Whole Foods Market employees’ compensation package includes health insurance, a 401(k) plan, huge discounts off store products, and a starting minimum wage of $15 per hour.

Bed Bath & Beyond: $11.41/Hr

Bed Bath & Beyond: $11.41/Hr
Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Merchandise retail store Bed Bath & Beyond has 1,460 locations across the United States and, as of 2020, around 55,000 employees to keep happy. The good news is the retail giant knows a thing or two about upping hourly workers’ minimum wage.

According to PayScale.com, employees at Bed Bath & Beyond will make a starting wage of $11.41 per hour. Much to workers’ benefit, the starting minimum is a bit higher than the national average.

Best Buy: $15/Hr

Best Buy: $15/Hr
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Best Buy is a mega-electronics retail chain with 977 locations scattered throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As of July 2020, the chain has increased its starting minimum wage to a high of $15 per hour.

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry released a statement, saying, “Today’s announcement on pay reflects an ongoing evolution and investment in how we compensate them for their critical work and is the result of clear and consistent feedback from field employees across the country.”

T.J. Maxx: $11.28/Hr

T.J. Maxx:
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As one of the largest retail chains in America, TJ Maxx has made it its mission to attract some of the best talents around. With that in mind, it’s no wonder they make it a priority to pay their workers more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

According to PayScale.com, the average minimum wage employees receive at TJ Maxx is $11.28, while that number can range from $9.16 to $16.19 per hour.

Marshalls: $11.20/Hr

Marshalls: $11.20
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As of 2020, the discounted department store Marshalls has around 1,130 locations across the United States. Owned by TJX Companies, Marshalls employees gives the same value and respect to its workers as its parent company’s other subsidiaries.

According to PayScale.com, Marshalls compensates its hourly workers with a starting wage a bit higher than the federal minimum. While hourly employees can expect to make anywhere between $9.06 and $15.60, the average hourly wage is around $11.20.

Publix: $11.96/Hr

Publix: $11.96/Hr
Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Since opening its first store in 1930, the grocery chain Publix has grown into 1,252 locations throughout the American southeast. The chain is continuously on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. And that might have something to do with hourly workers’ wages.

According to PayScale.com, hourly employees earn more than the federal minimum wage, making an average of $11.96 per hour, while cashiers earn around $10.11 per hour.

Home Goods: $11.31/Hr

Home Goods: $11.31/Hr
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Starting as nothing more than a small store, Home Goods has turned into a chain with over 800 locations since its inception in 1992. And while it is a fantastic spot to do some home furnishing shopping, it’s also a great place to work since the starting wage is higher than the federal minimum.

According to PayScale.com, an hourly employee can expect to make a starting wage of around $11.31 per hour.

AutoZone Shift Managers: $13.31/Hr

AutoZone Shift Managers: $13.31/Hr
Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Car accessory and retail chain AutoZone has expanded to 6,003 locations throughout the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and the U.S. Virgin Islands since its inception in 1979. Thankfully for the employees working at the US chains, their wages are slightly higher than the federal minimum.

An Autozone shift manager will earn around $13.31 per hour, while a sales associate will earn a bit less, an average of $10.60 per hour.

JCPenney: $10.60/Hr

JCPenney
Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The retail chain JCPenney has been around for a long time, with the first store opening back in 1902. Since the chain has been around for so long, it’s safe to assume they know a thing or two about treating their employees fairly, with a competitive, above-the-federal-minimum wage.

According to PayScale.com, JCPenney offers its employees an average starting wage of $10.60 per hour. That being said, depending on experience, starting wages can range from $8.33 to $17.54 per hour.

Walmart: $11/Hr

Walmart
David Swanson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Swanson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In 2021, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon introduced what he’s calling a “ladder system” to his 1.5 million US-based employees. This system is meant to provide transparent promotional opportunities and subsequent raises within the company.

During an interview with Business Insider, McMillon said, “We’re trying to … create this ladder of opportunity, providing an opportunity for people when they start with the company to build a career like so many of us already have.” That being said, the starting wage is $11 per hour.

Kohl’s: $11.63/Hr

Kohl's
Johnny Louis/Getty Images
Johnny Louis/Getty Images

First opened in 1962, the retail chain Kohl’s operates 1,158 locations across the United States, as of 2017. And coming into the digital age, the chain has upped its efficiency game, adding mobile technology to help workers stock shelves and make checkout faster.

Well, those steps helped the chain raise their starting hourly wages. The average starting wage for Kohl’s workers is around $11.63, with it ranging from $8.90 to $20.21 per hour.

Walgreens: $13.19/Hr

Walgreens: $13.19/Hr
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Walgreens is the second-largest pharmaceutical chain in the United States, with 9,277 locations across the nation. Because of its sheer size, there are around 225,000 workers employed by the chain. And according to senior equity analyst John Boylan, it is imperative to keep all of those people happy, starting with a raise in the minimum wage.

During an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Boylan said, “A happy employee is an engaged employee, and an engaged employee does help customer satisfaction.” The starting minimum for hourly employees is an average of $13.19/hr.

Old Navy: $11.19/Hr

Old Navy
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Opened in 1994, Old Navy has since expanded to 1,106 locations across the nation. As part of Gap Inc., Old Navy employees were able to enjoy the benefits of the 2014 and 2015 raises of $9 and $10, respectively.

Now, the retail chain’s minimum wage has increased yet again. According to PayScale.com, hourly workers earn an average of $11.19 per hour, with some employees making as much as $17 per hour.

Banana Republic: $13.21/Hr

Banana Republic
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In a statement released by former Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck, there was a reason behind its choice to increase wages from the federal minimum. He said, “It’s the right thing to do, and frankly, it also acknowledges the fact that the work we’re asking our sales associates to do is changing.”

That change includes the retail chain Banana Republic, one of Gap Inc.’s divisions. Employees at the chain earn an average of $13.21 per hour.

REI: $16.67/Hr

REI:
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The outdoorsy retail chain REI has 165 locations throughout the United States and employs around 13,000 workers. Since 1985, REI has been named one of the leading companies to work for, being ranked as one of the “100 Companies to Work For” by Forbes.

And it’s no wonder, considering REI pays its hourly workers far more than the federal minimum wage. On average, hourly employees can expect to make $16.67 per hr.

Home Depot: $12.40/Hr

Home Depot: $12.40/Hr
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The home improvement retail chain Home Depot has over 400,000 employees at its 2,285 locations. In 2020, it was announced that the company was going to spend a billion dollars to ensure their workers would receive a pay increase.

While a spokesperson for the chain didn’t give an exact number to the raise, it’s well above the federal minimum, according to PayScale.com. On average, hourly workers at Home Depot are earning $12.40 per hour.