Groceries stores in Seattle and Oakland will soon pay their cashiers an hourly rate of $100 a week, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.
The new policy will begin July 1, 2018.
It’s not a new initiative, but the grocery chain is taking a step forward to address rising worker turnover, said Mike Calkins, senior director of workforce development at the chain.
It will also allow them to better align their work with customer service needs, he added.
Grocers have long complained about the high turnover of their cashier ranks, and the new policy aims to keep them there.
Calkin told employees in a memo Monday that they will receive an hourly wage starting July 1 of $9.50 per hour.
The memo also outlines new hiring policies that include increasing the number of cashier positions to 10 from 7, allowing employees to take time off if they’re sick, and allowing them to work off-site.
The chain’s labor relations division said that, according in part to the memo, it will pay the cashier $25 per hour to provide a service.
“We want to be fair to our employees, but we also want to provide them with a good living wage and take care of them in a safe environment,” Calkens memo said.
“To accomplish these goals, we are looking at ways to address worker turnover and help reduce the costs associated with their work.”
More than 400,000 workers earn $13 or less an hour in Seattle, according the city’s Department of Labor and Industry.
The Seattle City Council voted last week to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.
It would be the first citywide wage hike in more than 20 years.
Grocers already pay their employees an hourly minimum wage of $8.50 in Seattle.
They pay their associates an additional $2.15 per $1.00 an hour.
In Oakland, which was a pioneer in making its grocery stores more employee-friendly, employees at the store will get $100 per week to cover the cost of providing a service to customers, said Michael Gertz, a spokesman for the Oakland-based company.
He said the company also will offer its employees training in customer service.
“The Oakland store has been very successful, and we know that in general, employees have an incredible amount of confidence and trust in the Oakland store,” Gerts said.
More:Grocery giant Whole Foods, which operates more than 300 stores in the United States, has pledged to increase its hourly wages to $13 by 2020, as a way to increase worker morale.
The company has also made other wage increases, including raising the minimum hourly wage for its full-time workers to $17 per hour, and raising the average hourly pay for its part-time employees to $12 per hour from $9 per hour earlier this year.