In a move that will affect 40% of its workforce, Wayfair raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time and seasonal employees in the U.S., effective Jan. 3, 2021.
“Throughout the challenges of the past year, we rolled out numerous initiatives to support our team including pay premiums, bonuses and a family dinner program,” said Niraj Shah, CEO of Wayfair in a statement. “Now, as we enter 2021, we are continuing to build upon our steadfast commitment to our team and their families by increasing minimum pay for all hourly employees.”
Along with many other retailers, Wayfair boosted pay and benefits during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, across-the-board pay increases for hourly workers remain relatively rare in retail. While Target boosted its minimum wage for starting workers to $15 per hour in July 2019, most other retailers offered only partial or time-limited pay or benefits increases:
- In March 2019, Walmart, Target and CVS instituted temporary pay increases as an initial reaction to the pandemic;
- In June 2019, Amazon offered its frontline employees one-time bonuses valued at a total of $500 million, following the expiration of a $2 per hour pay increase at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- A Walmart store-level restructuring announced in September 2019 boosted pay for 11% of the giant retailer’s workforce.
In addition to increasing wages, Wayfair created programs designed to help the communities it operates in. The Dinner To Go program provided frontline employees with two free, family-sized meals per week from local restaurants during some of the toughest months of the pandemic, supporting both the employees and struggling small businesses.