Target is the latest retailer to roll out a $2 an hour wage bump for its 300,000-plus workers who have been working furiously to restock empty shelves and fulfill a deluge of online orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the Minneapolis-based retailer is adding a new benefit to give workers who are pregnant, 65 years old or older or who have underlying health risks (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and don’t feel comfortable working access to paid leave for up to 30 days.
And it will pay out bonuses in April that range from $250 to $1,500 to 20,000 hourly store team leaders who oversee individual departments in stores.
In total, Target said it is spending more than $300 million in higher wages, bonuses and paid leave related to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We continue to experience incredible demand across our business, and Target’s ability to help our guests in this unprecedented time would not be possible without the strength of our team,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. ”I am proud and humbled by the dedication and humanity they show to our guests every day.”
Target said the wage increase will last until at least May 2 for full-time and part-time workers in its stores and distribution centers, who will earn an average of $240 to $480 more during this time frame.
Target, whose current minimum wage for workers is $13 an hour, has pledged to pay its workers at least $15 an hour by the end of this year.
While other retailers such as Walmart and Amazon have said in recent days that they are looking to hire more than 100,000 people to handle the surge in their businesses, Target said it will hire additional people as needed after first offering extra hours to current employees.
Target’s moves are among a number of temporary wage increases and bonuses announced by grocery chains, Walmart and Amazon in recent days aimed at acknowledging the stress and risk their front-line workers have been under and will continue to face in coming weeks.
Target also announced that it would be giving $10 million toward relief efforts related to COVID-19, its largest ever donation to a specific disaster. That amount includes $1 million to a Target employee fund to assist workers affected by the coronavirus.
Cornell will donate an additional $1 million to this fund by selling some of his Target shares.
On Thursday, Walmart, which employs 1.5 million workers in the U.S., said it would spend $550 million on bonuses of $300 for full-time hourly workers and $150 for part-time employees.
Cub, Jerry’s Foods and Kowalski’s have instituted $2 per-hour raises for at least the next couple of weeks. Lunds & Byerlys is giving additional bonuses of $500 to full-time workers and $200 to part-time workers.
Like many other retailers, Target also has reduced its store hours to allow time for employees to restock shelves and sanitize stores.
It’s also placed quantity limits on some items in particularly high demand and has amended its paid sick leave and absenteeism policies in light of the pandemic.