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While some large publicly traded companies such as Wal-Mart and Panera recently dropped its objections to raising the Federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour), others have gone a step further.

These five companies are paying above the minimum wage or have announced that they are raising the minimum wage for their employees in 2014.

Gap (NYSE: GPS)

Gap said in Feburary it would raise the minimum hourly rate for its employees to $9 in 2014 and then raise it again to $10 in 2015.

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The New York Times reported that in a letter to employees, Gap CEO Glenn K. Murphy said, “To us, this is not a political issue. Our decision to invest in front-line employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over.”

Disney (NYSE: DIS)

More recently, Walt Disney World agreed to a contract with its largest union, the Service Trades Council, to provide a minimum hourly pay rate of $10 by 2016. This year workers would see an increase of $1.07 per hour from $8.03 to $9. The union said it estimates that about one-third of its workers make less than $9 currently.

The move isn’t all altruistic. According to Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo, “The labor market’s tightened up a little bit, and companies are paying up, not just to get workers but to keep them.”

Costco (NASDAQ: COST)

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek has publicly endorsed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Not that it would affect his company -- Costco employees start out at $11.50 per hour. The average employee at Costco actually makes $21 per hour.

Jelinek is already on record saying that a $15 per hour minimum wage would be “fair.” According to Jelinek, most of Costco’s non-management staff make close to that already.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM)

According to Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb, "Team Members" make an average of $15 an hour. Robb added that the majority of Whole Foods employees also receive benefits and stock options.

Despite the higher-than-minimum wages paid by Whole Foods, Robb said he wished the company could pay more. It’s all part of the Whole Foods business philosophy, which Robb called “conscious capitalism.”

Unilever plc (NYSE: UL) Ben & Jerry’s

Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s pays entry-level workers $15.97 per hour, more than double the federal minimum wage. The wage, the Huffington Post reported, represents the actual cost of living in Vermont where Ben & Jerry’s is based.

The company also has a proactive stance when it comes to the unemployed. Greyston Bakery, owned by Ben & Jerry’s, is based in New York and is dedicated to providing jobs for the unemployed.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

Posted-In: Ben & Jerry’s Costco disney GAP Glenn K. MurphyTopics Economics General Best of Benzinga

 

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