Bank of America is raising its starting wage to $17 an hour beginning in May in a longer-term effort to increase it to $20 by 2021.
The retail banking giant currently pays $15 an hour to start.
The raise will affect tens of thousands of the bank’s 205,000 employees at its 4,300 U.S. locations, according to the company.
“We are raising our minimum wage because we believe that to best serve our customers and clients, we need the best teams,” said Sheri Bronstein, chief human resources officer at Bank of America, in a press release.
Bank of America’s efforts also underscore a larger movement in corporate America and at the state level to boost wages for the lowest-earning workers.
Bank of America vs. other banks
Many banks across the country have announced raises to their minimum wages over the past year as a way to invest some of their expected tax savings from the new tax law, according to a tally maintained by the American Bankers Association.
The most common increased wage is $15 an hour, with Discover, Central Pacific Bank and American Savings Bank going as high as $15.25 per hour, according to the ABA. Last year, Chase said it was increasing its wages by 10% on average – ranging from $15 to $18 an hour – for 22,000 employees.
Retailers and restaurants
Much of the minimum wage momentum has been on the retail and restaurant front. Last week, Target said it planned to raise its starting hourly wage to $13 from $12 in June, its third increase in the less than two years.
Also last week, McDonald’s said it’s abandoning its lobbying efforts against raising the minimum wage at the federal, state or local level, an about-face for the fast food chain.
In March, Costco upped its hourly wage to $15 an hour, after boosting it last June to $14. In October, Amazon said it’s bumping up its starting hourly wage to $15, while Walmart raised its minimum pay to $11 an hour in early 2018.
State and city efforts
Workers in 22 states and the District of Columbia also received or will receive higher minimum wages this year because of aggressive policies aimed at helping lower-income workers or regularly scheduled cost-of-living increases, according to the National Employment Law Project.
Additionally, 38 cities and counties also raised or will raise their starting wages this year. About 17 million workers will benefit from the raises, the nonprofit estimates.