Macy’s Inc. is raising its minimum wage to $15 across the organization and also making a $35 million, four-year investment in new educational benefits.
The company said Monday the investments reflect efforts to “attract and retain talent critical to its continued growth as a digitally led omnichannel retailer and to the execution of its Polaris growth strategy.” Macy’s has shown improved performance this year, beating pre-COVID-19 2019 performances.
Polaris is Macy’s three-year strategy, unveiled in February 2020, centering on personalization and the loyalty program, expanding assortments, accelerating digital growth, closing 125 department stores, opening smaller scale off-mall stores, boosting some private brands into billion-dollar businesses and reducing costs.
The retailer said that beginning February 2022, the $35 million four-year investment will provide a debt-free education benefit program to its colleagues. The program will be available for all U.S.-based, regular, salaried and hourly colleagues and cover 100 percent of tuition, books and fees for a wide range of options, including courses for high school completion, college prep, English language learning, associate and bachelor’s degrees, bootcamps and professional certificates within a “network” of educational institutions designated by Macy’s.
Macy’s said it partnered with an education and upskilling platform, Guild Education, to build the program and “help Macy’s colleagues gain the skills, knowledge and experience they needed to achieve their professional goals without financial barriers.”
“As a company, we’re driven by our mission to enable our colleagues’ success and be the preferred employer everywhere we do business, with competitive pay and benefits rooted in principles of equity,” Danielle Kirgan, Macy’s Inc.’s chief transformation and human resources officer, said in a statement Monday. “This program removes a major barrier to accessing education and will help our colleagues to further develop their skills and grow their careers and earning potential.”
Macy’s said its minimum wage across all Macy’s Inc. locations for new and current colleagues will be $15. The company has already phased in the $15 rate across several markets and expects to achieve this target nationally by May 2022. Last summer, Macy’s upped the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all distribution center colleagues. The company said that the average base pay will eventually be above $17 hour and average total pay will be $20 hour. Minimum wages vary from state to state, and in certain cases, workers are entitled to commissions and overtime pay.
Other benefits were announced, including providing Macy’s corporate and hourly colleagues with one additional flexible paid holiday to support their well-being and provide further flexibility to take a day off on a holiday that is most important to them.
“At Macy’s Inc., our commitment to culture and employee engagement has never been stronger, and we are energized by a 90 percent engagement rate in our companywide survey of our more than 100,000-colleague population,” said Kirgan. “By investing in our colleagues’ education and financial well-being, we’re determined to make it possible for them to bring the best of themselves to work every day and to enable them to pursue their own aspirations within and outside of Macy’s Inc.”
Kirgan added that the changes reflect “embedding D&I into how we think, act and operate. Earlier this year, we released our Human Capital Report detailing our work and providing transparency for our shareholders, who are paying increasingly more attention to corporate culture.”
Macy’s indicated it has achieved greater than 99 percent pay equity across gender and, in the U.S., across race in 2021. In 2020, during the pandemic, Macy’s thanked its colleagues for working during immensely difficult circumstances with bonuses and “hero pay.” Macy’s also offers spot bonuses year-round for colleagues who go above and beyond. In March 2020, Macy’s temporarily closed all of its 700-plus stores due to the spread of COVID-19 at that time because of the company’s designation as a “nonessential” retail business. The majority of its workforce was furloughed. By July 2020, most of Macy’s stores, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury, were reopened and workers were back at work.