Gap is staying a step ahead of moves to raise the minimum wage by setting $9 as its minimum wage this summer and raising it to $10 in 2015. The company says the move will affect around 65,000 workers at its stores, which include Old Navy and Banana Republic, NBC reports. President Obama—who wants to bring the minimum wage up from $7.25 to $10.10—applauded the move, which Gap CEO Glenn Murphy described as one that will "directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over.
The chief of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union said Gap's move was a step in the right direction, but the biggest problem facing retail workers these days is the struggle to work enough hours to earn a good living. To reduce employee turnover, Gap and other retailers should "give these workers full-time jobs and regular schedules that don’t change week to week," he tells the New York Times. Meanwhile, Walmart—America's biggest employer—denied earlier reports that it was looking at supporting a rise in the federal minimum wage, saying it was "neutral" on the issue and already pays most of its full-time employees more than $10 an hour, Reuters reports.