- Target said its employees, on average, work more hours than they did three years ago as it works to complete a transition to a company-wide $15-an-hour minimum wage, according to a statement last week.
- The announcement came days after a CNN report quoted current and former and Target employees who said the retail operator had scaled back their hours as it upped its minimum wage. One former employee told CNN that Target cut her hours from an average of 35 to 40 hours a week to "as little as 15 a week." Target employees who average 30 hours of work per week are eligible for Target's health insurance benefits, CNN said.
- A Target spokesperson told HR Dive in an emailed statement that the company is adding an additional $50 million in payroll compared to its investments during last year's holiday season. The company's post last week "was designed to outline those longstanding investments that we've made over time," the spokesperson said, which will include "hiring more than 130,000 seasonal team members" in the coming months.
Large employers — especially those in retail — have increasingly been pulled into the debate around wage growth. According to May 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for retail salespersons, excluding cashiers, was $11.63 an hour.
Target's competitors have made similar wage-increase announcements. Amazon announced in October 2018 that it would boost its minimum wage to $15 an hour, while Walmart bumped its minimum up to $11 an hour in January of that year. Walmart also made headlines in June when its CEO spoke in favor of a higher federal minimum wage during the company's annual shareholder meeting, calling on Congress to take action.
On top of its own pledge to adopt a $13 hourly minimum, with plans to reach a $15 an hour minimum by the end of 2020, Target announced additional benefits for hourly store workers, including expanded access to paid family leave and back-up family care. A company representative said in the announcement that Target views higher base wages as just one component of its employee value proposition.
But this isn't the first time that expanded benefit announcements have created speculation that companies would cut back in other areas to account for the change. Amazon, for example, nixed monthly bonuses and stock options for fulfillment center workers and other hourly employees shortly after its $15 wage announcement. But the company maintained that workers would still see their total compensation increase, despite the cuts.
There's also continuing debate among economists and analysts about the impact of increased minimum wages, particularly those mandated by the federal government. A recent analysis of a $15 an hour wage bill by the Congressional Budget Office found such a proposal could raise wages for some 27 million workers while putting 3.7 million out of work.
Previous surveys of retail workers show that, on top of better wages, many also are looking for flexible schedules. Other studies have shown retail workers are concerned about a lack of training investment and heavily weigh training and development opportunities as a factor in their decision to take a job.