Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Congress should increase the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
At Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting, McMillon said “it’s time for Congress to put a thoughtful plan in place” to increase wages. “The federal minimum wage is lagging behind.”
It was the first time he has pushed Congress to raise pay nationwide, according to the company.
Any plan to increase the minimum wage, however, should take into account cost of living differences around the country “to avoid unintended consequences,” McMillon said. He also noted that a hike may need to be phased in over time.
Meanwhile, Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called on Walmart to raise its wages above the company’s current $11-an-hour minimum.
McMillon defended Walmart’s moves to raise wages, expand benefits and train its 1.5 million U.S. workers in recent years. The company has steadily been raising its minimum wage, reaching $11 an hour more than a year ago. That’s up 50% in the last four years, McMillon said.
McMillon added that Walmart pays more than $11 in some markets to “recruit and retain the talent we need to run a good business.”
Sanders pointed out that Walmart competitors, such as Amazon and Costco, have enacted a $15 an hour minimum wage.