Next month, Target Corp. plans to permanently increase its starting hourly wage to $15 as part of an upgraded and extended pay and benefits package for its U.S. workforce.
Target said Wednesday the pay hike will take effect on July 5. At the end of July, the Minneapolis-based discount store chain also will pay a one-time “recognition bonus” of $200 to its frontline store and distribution center hourly workers, including full- and part-time associates, for their extra efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the best of times, our team brings incredible energy and empathy to our work, and in harder times they bring those qualities plus extraordinary resilience and agility to keep Target on the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests and our business year after year,” Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. “Everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose and the connection they create with our guests and communities.”
All U.S. hourly full- and part-time employee at store, distribution center and headquarters locations will be eligible for the $15 starting wage, which Target said is more than 25% higher than the U.S. industry average. The company noted that in September 2017 it had set a goal to gradually raise its hourly starting wage from $11 to $15 by 2020. Most recently, the retailer had lifted its starting age to $13 last June.
Target reported that it was one of the first U.S. retailers to enact a temporary wage boost of $2 per hour, and the company said it kept the increase in place two months longer than initially announced end date of May 2. Meanwhile, the one-time $200 bonus comes in addition to bonuses of $250 to $1,500 paid out in April to 20,000 hourly store team leads, who oversee individual departments in Target stores.
Compared with 2019, Target said it will invest almost $1 billion more this year in employee compensation, health and safety, including wage hikes, paid leave, bonus payouts, personal protective equipment and a $1 million donation to the Target Team Member Giving Fund.
On the benefits side, Target this week will begin offering free access to virtual doctor visits for all workers through the end of the year, regardless of whether they currently subscribe to a company health care plan. The telehealth sessions are conducted via the CirrusMD app, which will allow Target employees to securely text, share images or video chat with a physician. The 24/7 platform will be available at no extra cost to U.S.-based Target associates until the end of December.
Target also extended its 30-day paid leave option for employees at a higher risk for COVID-19, including those ages who are age 65 or older, pregnant or have underlying medical conditions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says makes them more vulnerable to the virus. Eligible staff who haven’t yet used the one-time 30-day leave option will continue to have access to this benefit, Target said.
Free backup care will be available to all U.S. employees through the end of August, Target announced. The benefit provides access to childcare or care for another family member, and Target will continue to waive co-pays. By the end of August, associates will have received access to free backup care for their family members for more than five months, according to the company. Care includes access to Bright Horizons’ center-based and in-home options for children or elder family members that live with employees.
Target added that it will continue to waive its absenteeism policy and offer paid leave options for workers who are symptomatic, have a confirmed case of coronavirus or have been quarantined because of exposure to the virus. The company said that, given the ongoing threat of COVID-19 as well as continued social unrest across the nation, employees will continue to have access to free counseling sessions plus new anxiety and sleep resources.
“The most important investments we make are in our team. I have tremendous gratitude for the way our team members show up with such purpose and pride for our guests, communities and one another,” stated Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer at Target. “These investments help ensure that team members can build meaningful careers, take care of themselves and their families and contribute to building our communities through their work inside and outside of Target.”
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