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Costco raising its U.S. minimum wage to $16 an hour; Zales parent going to $15 an hour

Costco Wholesale will soon have one of the highest starting wages for U.S. workers in retail.

The warehouse club giant is raising its hourly minimum wage to $16 for U.S. workers. Costco, which has more than 180,000 employees in the U.S., revealed the hike during a Senate budget committee hearing.

“Two years ago, we moved our starting hourly wage to $15 everywhere in the U.S.,” CEO Walter Craig Jelinek said. “Effective next week, the starting wage will go to $16.”

Similar to many other retailers, Costco added a wage premium ($2.00) to its at the start of the pandemic in March.  

“As we approach the one-year mark of this extra pay, we will limit the temporary premium, but convert some of the premium to a permanent increase by raising each step on hourly wage scales,” said Jelinek.

In separate news, Signet Jewelers, parent company of Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared and other brands, announced it will raise its U.S. minimum wage to $15 an hour The move follows the company's “Love Takes Care Appreciation Award”, a bonus paid recently to full-time and part-time hourly employees to recognize their work during the pandemic.  

When fully rolled out by the spring of 2022, the company's new minimum wage will cover all full-time and part-time positions, including newly created roles such as virtual jewelry consultants.

"As a purpose-driven company that puts our people first, we believe that raising our minimum wage is the right thing to do," said Signet CEO Gina Drosos. "Our team showed incredible agility, creativity and compassion this past year – learning new capabilities that accelerated our transformation, exceeded customers' expectations and delivered the best holiday season we've had in nine years. As we enter the next phase of our Path to Brilliance, we do so with the firm belief that businesses that prioritize their team will deliver better results by unlocking even more innovation."  

Signet Jewelers Ltd. operates approximately 2,900 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, and

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