(Reuters) – The world’s largest online retailer said on Wednesday that warehouses and transport workers for Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) will earn an increased median starting wage of more than $19 an hour from $18.
Increased wages will help the company attract and retain workers in the taut US labor market as the peak gift-giving season begins.
Amazon said the wage increase would cost the company nearly $1 billion over the next year.
The company added that employees will now earn between $16 and $26 per hour depending on their position and location in the United States.
An Amazon spokesperson told Reuters that Amazon’s minimum wage for hourly employees in the United States is still $15.
The online retailer’s decision also comes as some workers continue to push for unions for Amazon facilities in the US. Only one Amazon facility has voted to join a union so far.
The company is battling high inflation and high employee turnover as workers seek higher wages to counter the rising cost of living.
Amazon had more than 1.5 million full- and part-time employees globally as of the quarter ending June 30, with the majority of workers located in the United States.
Earlier on Wednesday, Amazon announced new devices that include a suite of voice-controlled devices, an updated e-reader that users can write on, and a contactless gadget that can monitor people’s sleep.