Amazon said the $15 minimum wage will apply to more than 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees.
The company said it also will start lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour.
Workers across the country have pushed for a $15 minimum wage as they have drawn attention to growing income inequality. Bernie Sanders and others, Amazon stressed that the number reflects its employees' pay worldwide; the median salary for a full time employee in the USA, the company said, is $34,123 - a figure it said should be compared to other retailers. With a healthy US economy, Americans looking for work have an increasing number of job options, so Amazon has to find ways to entice people to join its company.
He said Amazon had "listened" to its critics, "thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead". But as Amazon's stock has risen, so has Bezos' net worth - it's now estimated around $165 billion.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief executive, said he was "excited" to announce the changes, which he said would impact more than 37,000 employees across the United Kingdom, "resulting in higher pay for them and their families".More news: Tweet storm: Musk quits as chairman over false claims
Amazon said it would increase its minimum wage for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said Tuesday that while Amazon's wage hike is a politically savvy move, it's also a change made out of economic necessity.
Jay Carney, Amazon's senior vice president for global corporate affairs, pledged that the company would advocate a minimum wage increase "that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country".
Workers have been protesting against fast food chains like McDonald's Corp and demanding wage increases since 2012 but conditions at Amazon's warehouses, distribution centers and for its couriers have been drawing media attention and criticism for some time.
The new Amazon UK rate is also higher than the wage level recommended by the Living Wage Foundation of £8.75, or £10.20 in London.
"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage".