Target will permanently raise its starting wage for U.S. employees to $15/hour effective July 5, 2020. The move was announced with a range of updates and extensions to its pay and benefits programs. The Company also announced it will give a one-time recognition bonus of $200 to its frontline store and distribution center hourly workers for their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting this week, Target is also offering free access to virtual doctor visits for all employees through the end of the year regardless of whether they currently subscribe to a Target health care plan. The Company also announced additional extensions of a 30-day paid leave for vulnerable employees as well as free backup care for family members.
“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,” said Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation. “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.”
Investment In Team Members
All U.S. hourly full-time and part-time employees who work in Target retail stores, distribution centers and its headquarters will be eligible for the $15 starting wage, which is more than 25 percent higher than the U.S. industry average. Target set its 2020 goal of a $15 starting wage in September 2017, and over the last three years has increased wages from a starting wage of $11. The last starting-wage increase was in June 2019 to $13.
To recognize employees’ efforts to meet customer needs during the coronavirus pandemic, Target said it was one of the first in the retail industry to offer a temporary wage increase of $2 and kept the increase in place two months longer than originally announced.
The one-time $200 recognition bonus will be distributed at the end of July to eligible full-time and part-time hourly employees at both stores and distribution centers, this is on top of the $250-to-$1,500 bonuses Target paid out in April to 20,000 hourly store employees who oversee individual departments in Target stores.
With the changes announced this week, Target said it will invest nearly $1 billion more this year in the well-being and the health and safety of its employees than it did in 2019, including increased wages, paid leave, bonus’, personal protective equipment and a $1 million donation to the Target Team Member Giving Fund.
New And Extended COVID-19 Benefits
To support the health and safety of its employees, Target will also offer free access to health care through virtual doctor visits regardless of whether its employees currently subscribe to a Target health care plan. The offering is through the CirrusMD app and focuses on text-first virtual health care visits for employees to securely text, share images, or video chat with a doctor. The platform will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no cost to U.S.-based employees until the end of December 2020.
Other benefits that will be extended include:
- Vulnerable paid leave for employees 65 years or older, pregnant employees or those with underlying medical conditions per the CDC. Eligible employees who have not used the one-time, 30-day leave option will continue to have access to this benefit;
- Free backup care for all U.S. employees through the end of August. 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, employees will have been provided access to free backup care for their family members for more than five months. Care includes access to provider Bright Horizons’ center-based and in-home options for children or elder family members that live with team members;
- Target reported it will continue to waive its absenteeism policy and offer paid leave options for employees who are symptomatic, have a confirmed case of coronavirus or have been quarantined due to exposure; and
- Target will continue to support employee mental health by offering free counseling sessions along with 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,” said Melissa Kremer, Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “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.”
Photo courtesy Target