- Target will extend its $2-per-hour pay increase through July 4 for its more than 350,000 workers, the Star Tribune first reported. This is the second time the retailer has extended its hourly pay increase, which was initiated March 20.
- The company will extend its other pandemic-related benefits, including a 30-day paid leave policy for high-risk workers and those 65 years and older, through June 30.
- "At the outset of the pandemic, we knew there was a long road ahead, that we would have to pace ourselves," Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a letter to employees, according to the Star Tribune. "These pay and benefits extensions are intended to help you and your family do just that as we all continue to support each other and move forward."
Target’s decision to extend its hourly bonus comes as companies face intense pressure from unions, consumers and politicians to continue recognizing workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As retailers approach the expiration of their temporary raises for employees, they’re having to weigh several factors. This includes a desire to do right by workers and retain them, but also a need to control operating costs and remain competitive at a time when shoppers are quickly switching stores.
The evolution of the novel coronavirus and the U.S.' response to it have also complicated matters. Although companies established so-called “hero pay” to recognize the increased risk frontline workers were taking, that risk has not subsided as infection rates continue to rise in many states and grocery employees continue to fall ill. At the same time, state economies are starting to reopen and workers are beginning to flow back into restaurants and retail businesses.
Last week, Kroger announced it would end its hourly pay increase for workers and provide a final one-time bonus totaling $400 for full-time employees and $200 for part-time. Meanwhile, Amazon is set to end its $2-an-hour bonus for employees at the end of this month. A slew of other companies, from national chains to regional operators, face a decision over extending their pay increases in the weeks ahead.
Last week, Walmart announced it would distribute another round of bonuses to its workers. Full-time hourly associates will receive $300, while part-time hourly and temporary workers will get $150.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union last Friday sent a letter to CEOs of nearly 50 grocers asking them to extend pay and benefits for workers. The union estimated at least 65 grocery workers have died and more than 9,800 have been infected or exposed to the virus.
“Given the daily risks faced, these workers deserve critical protections, benefits, and a higher wage for as long as this public health crisis endures,” the organization stated in its letter. “That your companies are even considering cutting the pay of these frontline workers, while you experience record sales, is shocking in its indifference.”