Fast-food giant McDonald’s says it will raise the pay of more than 90,000 US employees to at least $1 above the legal minimum wage.That is currently $7.25 (£4.90) an hour, but individual states can set their own rates.
The move will only benefit staff at company-owned outlets – about 10% of McDonald’s 14,000 US restaurants.
In a statement, the firm said employees covered by the new policy will be paid more than $10 per hour by 2016.
The rate is still short of the increase sought by campaigners in recent months.
The move follows a similar one by retailing giant Wal-Mart.
Franchisees who run around 90% of outlets set their own pay and benefits but this could prompt some of these to improve their own terms.
One analyst said this could help offset the cost of the wage rise for the parent company.
“They’ll try to paint this as altruistic, but they’re increasing their corporate income by doing this. It’s not as nice as it sounds,” said Richard Adams, a former McDonald’s franchisee who now acts as a consultant for current ones.
McDonald’s franchisees pay the company royalties based on sales.
Fast food workers across the US have been demanding that the minimum wage in the sector should be raised to $15 per hour.
Workers at various outlets, including McDonald’s, have held strikes and there have been street protests in many US cities.
McDonald’s new chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, said the company had “listened to our employees” and announced he would introduce “paid personal leave and financial assistance for completing their education” alongside a wage rise.