Gap to raise minimum wage to $10 for U.S. employees

San Francisco – Gap Inc. will raise the minimum hourly wage for all U.S. employees to $9 in 2014, and then raise it again, to $10, in 2015. The move will affect about 65,000 store employees across the company’s brands, which include Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta, and Intermix. Gap's announcement comes amid a nationwide debate about the minimum wage.

Gap chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy publicly announced the change in a brief blog post. He said employees had been notified in a company phone call early in the morning of Feb. 19.

“To us, this is not a political issue,” Murphy said in the blog post. “Our decision to invest in frontline employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over. The people in our company who engage directly with our customers carry an incredible responsibility. Our success is a result of their hard work, love of fashion and commitment. We hope this decision provides them with some additional support as they grow their careers with Gap Inc."

In explaining the wage increases, Murphy told employees: “We work for a company with a strong set of values, which can be directly linked to our founders, Doris and Don Fisher. They invented specialty apparel retail, but Don also challenged us to live up to our promise to ‘do more than sell clothes.’ ”

Gap is based in San Francisco, which has a $10.74 citywide minimum wage. California has passed a law that establishes a minimum wage of $10 an hour by 2016.

President Barack Obama publicly praised Gap for the move.

"I applaud Gap for announcing that they intend to raise wages for their employees beginning this year," said Obama.

He also urged Congress to pass a bill that would raise the nation's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour.

It’s time to pass that bill and give America a raise,” the president said.