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Amazon cutting bonuses and stock benefits as it raises minimum wage to $15

Amazon hikes minimum wage to $15 for U.S. workers

Amazon made a big splash this week with its $15 an hour minimum wage announcement, but lost in the fine print: Existing warehouse workers will no longer receive stock in the company or collect bonuses.

The online giant says next month it will end bonuses, which paid workers extra based on their attendance and warehouse productivity, as it boosts its minimum wage.

Amazon will also phase out its restricted stock unit program, which gave shares to workers if they stayed with Amazon for a certain amount of years. Amazon says it will replace it with a program next year that will allow workers to buy stock, but didn't provide details.

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Amazon.com Inc. says "compensation will be more immediate and predictable" with the changes. The company notes its other benefits, such as 401(k) retirement accounts and health insurance, were not changed.

The company's minimum wage is set to rise to $15 an hour on Nov. 1 for all U.S. workers, including part-time and temporary holiday employees. Amazon's move comes after the company faced criticism over its pay and treatment of employees, including warehouse workers

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I.-Vermont, had targeted the online retail giant for paying wages that he said left its employees relying on public assistance for food and shelter, even as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now stands as the world's richest man. 

Amazon said the $15 minimum wage will apply to more than 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees, including workers at Whole Foods. Workers hired by temp agencies will also receive the $15-per-hour wage. The typical entry-level wage for warehouse workers is about $11 an hour, although it varies by location. The company also said it would push to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. 

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead," Bezos said in a statement Tuesday. "We're excited about this change, and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

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