Wayfair, the furniture and home goods e-commerce business, said yesterday that all of its U.S. employees would be paid at least $15 an hour. The increase, which went into effect on Jan. 3, applies to full-time, part-time and seasonal workers at the company. More than 40 percent of Wayfair’s hourly employees working across its U.S. supply chain and customer service operations received a pay increase. The retailer, which has 16,700 employees, said it also provided enhanced benefits to workers during the pandemic, including premium pay to frontline workers, bonuses, child care support and emergency paid time off.
Total Retail's Take: This announcement comes after 20 states and 32 cities and counties raised their minimum wage on Jan. 1. The push to better compensate retail employees, including store associates, warehouse staff, and call-center agents, has resulted in leading businesses, including Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and others, announcing plans to raise their minimum wages. Retailers are trying to combat employee turnover, and the cost associated with onboarding new associates, by increasing wages, offering additional benefits, and providing a path forward to a future career in retail, rather than just a temporary job. As for Wayfair, the company has benefited from increased sales during the pandemic, as stuck-at-home consumers have chosen to invest in their living spaces. In fact, Wayfair reported a profit in 2020 after years of losing money. With the online retailer in a better financial position, and ready to capitalize on continued increased online shopping demand, it stands to reason that it would share some of the spoils with its employees.