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Target Makes Extra Coronavirus Pay Permanent, Boosts Hourly Minimum To $15

Target is raising its starting wage to $15 an hour, making permanent a $2 salary bump the company gave its U.S. workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer had previously planned to reach the $15-an-hour minimum by the end of 2020, but on Wednesday said the new pay minimum will kick in on July 5 instead. Target's announcement comes as its "hazard pay" was slated to expire — after several extensions — at a time when many essential retailers have phased out their pandemic bonuses.

"Everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose and the connection they create with our guests and communities," CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.

The new minimum will apply to all hourly full-time and part-time workers at stores, distribution centers and headquarters, Target said. The company had started phasing in wage increases in 2011, starting at $11 an hour and reaching $13 last year.

Among Target's competitors, Amazon raised its starting salary to $15 an hour in 2018. That same year, Walmart raised its minimum pay to $11 an hour. Costco announced its $15 minimum in 2019. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at at $7.25 an hour since 2009, though some states and cities have surpassed it.

Target, which has seen a massive surge in demand as it remained open during the pandemic, on Wednesday also said it will pay a one-time "recognition bonus" of $200 to eligible frontline workers and touted other perks.

Editor's note: Target is among NPR's financial supporters.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.