Amazon said it would invest $1 billion over the next year to increase the salaries of its “frontline workers” and introduce a perk that gives them access to a portion of their paycheck before payday.

The average starting salary for employees working in customer fulfillment and transportation roles will increase from $18 an hour to more than $19 an hour, with employees earning between $16 and $26 an hour depending on position and working location in the U.S.

Amazon also said it would make additional career development investments and offer free college tuition to hourly employees bringing its total benefit investment to nearly $10 billion this year.

“Frontline employees across customer fulfillment and transportation will now earn, on average, more than $19 per hour in the U.S., and they also have access to a growing range of comprehensive benefits to support themselves and their families,” said John Felton, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. “Continuing to invest in pay, providing easy access to earned wages at any time during the month and offering great benefits and career advancement opportunities are all part of our long-term efforts to be the best employer in the world.”

Amazon will introduce Anytime Pay, which provides its employees with access to up to 70 percent of their eligible earned wages before payday. The timing is up to the employee with no attached fee.

Amazon previously paid its employees regularly, either once or two times monthly. The company’s initiatives coincide with efforts to unionize its warehouses and the ongoing criticism of its labor practices.

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