U.S. Bank will boost the wages of about 30,000 "critical front-line" staffers at its bank branches, call centers and technical operations by 20% for the next month.
With the move announced Monday, the nation's fifth-largest bank joins a growing number of firms to lift the pay of workers who are keeping key parts of the economy going as the spread of coronavirus forced many other businesses to temporarily close.
Also Monday, Hormel announced bonuses to workers at its production plants in Minnesota and elsewhere. Full-time workers received $300 and part-timers $150. The Austin, Minn.-based firm also extended sick leave and waived requirements for certain health benefits.
Banks, grocery stores, gas stations and a relative handful of other consumer businesses have stayed open while most closed as the nation tries to slow coronavirus.
"Words cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for our colleagues and all they have been doing to support our customers," Andy Cecere, chief executive of U.S. Bancorp, the Minneapolis-based parent company, said in a statement.
U.S. Bank may extend the pay bonus depending on how the fight against the disease plays out in coming weeks. For now, the step will cost U.S. Bank about $30 million.
The company said it also will give $30 million in donations to charities and other organizations that are helping people cope with the illness and economic fallout from it. U.S. Bank plans to give $4 million to national organizations that are helping small businesses and $26 million to local nonprofit organizations engaged in relief efforts.
U.S. Bank also said it will allow thousands of employees working in corporate and back-office operations who are not as busy at the present time to work instead with nonprofits while still collecting regular pay.
It called that effort a "virtual volunteer network" and said it will reach out to nonprofit organizations that may need help with financial education, online mentoring, marketing and project management.
Last Friday, Target Corp. said it would temporarily lift wages for 300,000 workers at its 1,800 stores across the country. Several grocery stores around the Twin Cities have also increased pay temporarily as they try to reward and retain employees at a critical time, and attract people to apply for job openings.