This year, many states have increased the minimum wage, and numerous stores and restaurants are offering higher pay to attract new employees. Now Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the U.S., has also committed to raising its starting wage for employees.
On Aug. 31, Walgreens Boots Alliance, which also owns Duane Reade stores, announced it would increase the starting hourly wage for all team members to $15 an hour. The changes will take effect in phases beginning in October. The starting wage for new hires is currently $10 per hour. However, the company told CNBC that approximately half of their 190,000 hourly employees already make at least $15 an hour.
The pharmacy retailer anticipates investing approximately $450 million over the next three years to support the starting wage increase. One-third of this amount will be invested in fiscal year 2022. Walgreens expects to absorb at least part of the investment through the normal course of business.
“I am extremely proud and grateful of the work our team members are doing across our 9,000 Walgreens locations serving our customers, patients and communities each and every day,” Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said in a statement. “Investing in and rewarding our team members is not only the right thing to do, it’s highly important to retaining and attracting a talented workforce, and to continuing to serve our critical role in community health care.”
Along with higher wages, the company offers a comprehensive employee benefits package, such as health insurance, paid time off, profit sharing and stock purchase plans, company-paid life insurance and an “Added Benefits” program that includes an employee discount, childcare assistance and a transportation benefit plan.
Walgreens has instituted bonus payments and a significant hiring initiative, adding 25,000 full-time and part-time pharmacy team members since the beginning of the pandemic.
The wage increase is expected to be fully implemented by Nov. 1, 2022.
In February, Walmart increased its minimum wages (to $13-$19 an hour, depending on the position), and in March, Costco announced it was bumping its starting minimum wage for all employees to $16 an hour.