Starbucks is one of the many companies re-evaluating its policies and customer service practices in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
The coffee giant, Starbucks (SBUX) took a bold step and announced on Friday, 20th March, that it will pay all United States partners for the next 30 days even if they decide to stay home from work. Starting Saturday, they will temporarily suspend indoor access to all of its 15,000-plus US cafés, and move to drive-thru and delivery only.
In addition to paying workers for 30 days, whether or not they come to work, Starbucks is also offering catastrophe pay, mental health and sick pay benefits, and childcare support.
In an open letter on Sunday from Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ CEO & President, he says, “At Starbucks, we have also been doing more than ever in caring for our partners, extending childcare benefits, offering a new mental health benefit, and introducing catastrophe pay. Partners are the heartbeat of Starbucks, and we will continue to do whatever we can to support them.“
Starbucks has always been supportive with its partners(employees). Starbucks has also rolled out new mental health benefits to workers, including 20 free sessions per year with a mental health therapist or coach. The chain also expanded childcare benefits, increasing back-up care days through Care@Work from 10 to 20 and implementing service that allows workers to get reimbursed up to $125 per day for childcare costs. The company is also matching 50 cents for every dollar donated by employees to assist colleagues affected by the coronavirus.
Starbucks also said that employees who haven't been exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus, but who are experiencing fever, a cough or other symptoms associated with it, are advised to stay home and not return to work until they go without symptoms for 24 hours. They can tap into catastrophe pay for a three-day period.
Also, employees who are at least 60 years old, or who have underlying conditions like heart disease or diabetes which health officials say makes them more vulnerable to the virus, can also access up to two weeks of catastrophe pay if they have a note from a physician.
More than 35,000 people had signed a Coworker.org petition as of Friday calling for Starbucks to suspend its business due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Couple of days back, US President Donald Trump's former Chief Economist had warned that a coronavirus-driven global recession is a virtual certainty and that April may rank among the labor market's worst months for job growth on record. Some reports have emerged that layoffs have already begun in businesses across the country. Many workers don’t have an adequate financial backstop in layoff situations, experts said. Amidst such panic situations, Starbucks' steps of coming up with such employee benefit actions is a true mark of caring about its people.