Target increasing its starting wage range to as much as $24 per hour

Nicole Norfleet
Star Tribune (TNS)
The bullseye logo on a sign outside the Target store in Quincy, Mass., Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Target pushed through headwinds — from inflation to congested ports — to deliver solid results for the three-month period that included the crucial holiday shopping season. The Minneapolis-based discount retailer reported Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profits rose nearly 12%, while sales increased 9.4%.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Target employees, from red-shirted store associates to those working at sortation centers and other supply chain facilities, may soon earn as much as $24 an hour when they start work.

Depending on job position and market, Target will offer $15 to $24 an hour to workers, the company announced Monday.

The Minneapolis-based company's pay structure drew national attention several years ago when it became one of the first retailers to signal it would lift starting wages to the $15 hourly level that labor activists for years considered an important threshold. Target is now contending with greater competition for workers and the effect that inflation is having on them.

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Target said it would also expand its full health care benefits to more workers and reduce the waiting time for new employees to be eligible for benefits.

Target said the changes are part of a $300 million investment in its team in the year ahead matching the employee investments it made at the start of the pandemic.

"We want all team members to be better off for working at Target, and years of investments in our culture of care, meaningful pay, expanded health care benefits and opportunities for growth have been essential to helping our team members build rewarding careers," said Melissa Kremer, Target's chief human resources officer, in a statement.

The starting-wage increases will roll out throughout the year, the retailer said. In summer 2020, Target permanently increased its starting wage to $15 after first announcing the change in 2017.

Richfield-based electronics retailer Best Buy Co. followed suit shortly after along with other retailers who have increased their wages and benefits as they faced mounting competition for workers and retail staff has dealt with an evolving COVID-19 threat in the last two years.

Target's expanded health benefits, which will begin in April, will allow about 20% of Target's employees to become eligible for comprehensive health care benefits with store workers having to only work a minimum of 25 hours a week versus 30 hours a week to qualify and new employees eligible for medical benefits three to nine months sooner.

Target also announced it would provide additional benefits such as improved fertility assistance and wellness offerings.

The announcement comes a day before Target is scheduled to report its fourth quarter and full-year results. Executives will also meet analysts and investors in New York, the first in-person version of the event since 2019. The 2020 version was quickly turned into a broadcast event when the coronavirus outbreak first began to unfold.

Last week, Target announced it would no longer require workers and customers to wear face masks at its stores.