— Ansel (@Ansel) June 2, 2014
Seattle, Washington’s nine-member City Council unanimously voted to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It won’t happen immediately: The hourly minimum wage will jump to $11 an hour starting next year for large employers like Starbucks, and then according to the Times, “will rise to $15 by 2017 for employers with more than 500 workers that do not provide health insurance, and by 2018 for those large employers who do.”
In a surprising move, Gap Inc. informed its employees on Wednesday that it would set $9 as the minimum hourly rate for its United States work force this year and then establish a minimum of $10 next year.
Gap said this move would ultimately raise pay for 65,000 of its 90,000 American employees, including those at Banana Republic, Old Navy and other stores.
Gap is making this move as many states consider raising their minimum wage, and as Republicans and Democrats debate a bill that includes a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016.
This is particularly interesting to me because I worked at Gap’s baby store in high school at the minimum wage of $6.25 an hour, which adjusted for inflation would be between $8 and $8.50 today. It’s notable that Gap is also based in San Francisco, which has a city-wide minimum wage of $10.74. California is set to raise its state minimum wage to $10 by Jan. 1 2016, and as the Times points out, by raising it’s hourly wage higher now, “Gap will help avoid a checkerboard of different wages in different states in which workers with several years’ experience might be earning $8.50 or $9 an hour and wondering why they earn less than new hires in California who will be earning a minimum of $10 an hour.” Gap CEO Glenn Murphy said this move would also go to support the company’s founders promise “to ‘do more than sell clothes.’”