In a move that could have great impact in New Jersey, CVS Health announced Wednesday that all of its employees nationwide will make at least $15 an hour, effective July 2022.
The impact of the decision could have major reverberations in the state during a time of a severe worker shortage. With 674 pharmacy locations — and nearly 10,000 employees — the wage raise could force other retailers to match it.
The company, which estimates that approximately two-thirds of its employees already make at least $15 an hour, said the increased wages are tied to the company’s mission.
“Attracting and retaining top talent across our businesses is critical as we continue to redefine what it means to meet people’s health needs,” CEO Karen Lynch said. “These wage increases will have a meaningful impact on our colleagues and their families while helping the communities we serve prosper.
“Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of investments in our people, including bonuses and benefit enhancements throughout the pandemic.”
Moving to $15 an hour next year will mark a more than 60% increase in the CVS Health minimum enterprise hourly wage over a four-year period. The new wage structure incorporates additional increases beyond the enterprise minimum, with higher starting hourly rates for roles such as pharmacy technicians and call center representatives.
In addition to boosting wages, CVS Health is removing barriers to obtaining employment. Recently, the company eliminated the high school diploma or GED requirement for most entry-level roles, and this year will eliminate the GPA requirement for university recruitment.
“With millions of visits per day to our nearly 10,000 locations across the country, our retail business plays an important role in how we deliver care,” CVS Health Chief People Officer Laurie Havanec said. “Our track record on wages aligns with the evolving needs and expectations of CVS Health colleagues in customer-facing roles.”
CVS Health officials said the company has a longstanding commitment to workforce development and creating opportunities in the communities it serves. The company’s Registered Apprenticeship program has placed thousands in retail pharmacy and management career tracks, with a focus on advancement.
Last week, CVS Health opened its newest Workforce Innovation and Talent Center in Pittsburgh, which provides employment services and training to underserved populations through partnerships with faith-based and community organizations. An additional location opened in Philadelphia this week, which will help bring financial stability to more individuals and families.