Target is the latest retailer to say it is handing out raises to employees working to keep shelves stocked amid a surge in demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minneapolis-based retailer, which employs about 350,000 people, said it would be increasing wages by $2 an hour for all part-time and full-time employees in stores and distribution centers. The raise will be in effect at least until May 2. Target currently pays its employees a minimum wage of $13, with plans to increase that to $15 by the end of 2020. The company said that the raise will put a total average of $240 to $480 more in worker’s pockets.
Target also said it will hand out bonuses next month of between $250 and $1,500 to its 20,000 hourly workers who manage individual departments at its stores. These measures are part of $300 million in initiatives the company announced on Friday.
Target joins retailers like Amazon and Walmart who have announced similar wage increases or cash bonuses in recent days in a show of support for frontline workers who are responsible for getting food, cleaning supplies and other household necessities on shelves and into people’s homes. In response to heightened demand, Amazon also announced it would be hiring 100,000 temporary workers, while Walmart is hiring 150,000 workers.
“With each passing day, it’s clearer how indispensable our team is to communities across the country as our guests cope with the coronavirus,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell in a statement. “Increasing their compensation for a job incredibly well done and ensuring continued compensation for those who need to care for themselves and their families is a reflection of our company’s values and simply the right thing to do.”
The company also said employees who are 65 or older, pregnant or who have underlying medical conditions as defined by the Centers for Disease Control now have access to paid leave for up to 30 days if they would rather stay home. This is in addition to changes it had already made, like agreeing to pay workers who cannot come in because they have contracted coronavirus or been ordered to self-quarantine.
Target will also donate $10 million to fund various relief efforts, including $1 million to go toward workers who have been most impacted by the coronavirus and the rest to local, national and global organizations like Feeding America and UNICEF.
The nation’s reliance on brick-and-mortar retailers like Target, Walmart and Kroger has become exceedingly clear in the last week, as canned goods, frozen food, hand sanitizer and other staples fly off the shelves. At the same time, scores of retailers like Nordstrom, Gap and Victoria’s Secret have announced voluntary, two-week closures in an effort to help prevent the further spread of coronavirus. California and New York have ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down.
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