CVS just stepped up its labor competition with Walgreens by raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour

CVS cashier Ruth Jean, 19, of Dorchester rings up a customer at CVS in Boston, Massachusetts
CVS cashier Ruth Jean, 19, rings up a customer at CVS in Boston. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

CVS Health announced on Wednesday that it is raising the minimum wage of CVS employees to $US15 ($AU20) an hour. The salary hike will impact approximately 35% of the company’s workers – the rest already make above $US15 ($AU20) an hour.

The pharmacy and healthcare retailer joins Amazon, Costco, and Target in meeting the “Fight For $US15 ($AU20)” standard. Competitors Walmart and Walgreens have yet to announce plans to raise wages to $US15 ($AU20) an hour.

“The current minimum enterprise hourly wage is $US11 ($AU15),” CVS spokesperson T.J. Crawford told Insider. “All CVS Health employees earning hourly wages will make at least $US13 ($AU18) an hour effective September 5, and at least $US15 ($AU20) an hour by July 2022.”

As the labor shortage continues to impact small businesses and large corporations across the US, experts say higher pay is the only real solution. For the past five decades, the average worker’s wage has not kept up with the country’s increased cost of living, Insider’s Ben Winck and Andy Kiersz reported in May.

“These wage increases will have a meaningful impact on our colleagues and their families while helping the communities we serve prosper,” CVS Health CEO Karen S. Lynch said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of investments in our people, including bonuses and benefit enhancements throughout the pandemic.”

According to Indeed, a Walgreens cashier makes around $US10.72 ($AU14) per hour, while a sales associate is paid around $US9.33 ($AU13) an hour. The highest-paid position listed on the site is a senior merchandise manager, making over $US130 ($AU176) thousand a year.

“We’re continually looking at various pathways to continue increasing the starting pay rate of our team members,” a Walgreens spokesperson told Insider. “While today, across the U.S., our (Walgreens & Duane Reade) national minimum wage is $US10.00 ($AU14), our average hourly retail associate pay is closer to $US15 ($AU20).00 wage, as many retail store associates earning greater compensation based on their qualifications and or respective role responsibilities.”