Special Report

Companies Paying Americans the Least

13. The Gap, Inc. (NYSE:GPS)
> Global workforce:
> CEO compensation: $3.5 million
> Revenue: $16.4 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 2,473
> Industry: Apparel Retail

The U.S. retail sector employs millions of minimum wage workers. One of the sector’s biggest employers is The Gap, which owns many of the biggest retail chains in the country, including Banana Republic, Old Navy, and the eponymous Gap. Of the company’s 3,309 locations, roughly 2,500 are based in the United States. The average wages of the most commonly-reported positions at the company — sales associates and cashiers — were each below $10 per hour. Gap CEO Arthur Peck will be compensated an estimated $3.5 million for his first year on the job, the equivalent of 175 employees earning $20,000 per year, which is roughly what an employee paid $10 per hour would make.

12. Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)
> Global workforce:
> CEO compensation: $4.3 million
> Revenue: $6.8 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 1,528 p.4
> Industry: Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, which operates fast food chains Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, slashed its total headcount by about 50,000 employees in 2014. The restaurant and food retail industries employ millions of workers who get paid the minimum wage — in many cases far less. Federal labor laws allow businesses to pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 per hour, as long as the tips they earn surpass the regular minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Excluding tipped wages, the reported average hourly wage of a Darden server is just $4.46 per hour. In July 2014, Darden sold one of its most iconic chains, Red Lobster, for $2.1 billion.

11. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HLT)
> Global workforce:
> CEO compensation: $3.7 million
> Revenue: $6.8 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 3,601
> Industry: Hotels, Resorts and Cruise Lines

Hilton Worldwide Holdings operates 12 hotel brands. Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Hampton Hotels, and the DoubleTree hotel chain accounted for most locations. According to Glassdoor.com, an average front desk agent working for Hilton earned $11.96 per hour. Hilton workers are not the lowest paid employees compared with workers in other especially low-paying companies, but the leisure and hospitality industry employs by far the most low-paid workers. Sector employment accounts for over 57% of all U.S. workers paid at or below the minimum wage.

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