Starbucks Will Offer ‘Catastrophe Pay’ to Baristas Affected by Coronavirus
Starbucks announced that it will provide "catastrophe pay" to baristas in the U.S who have been exposed to the coronavirus, CNBC reported. The coffee chain will pay employees for up to 14 days if they have tested positive for coronavirus, or are exposed to or in close contact with someone who has coronavirus. Starbucks employees who are considered high risk because of other health conditions are also eligible for catastrophe pay if they provide a doctor's note. If Starbucks baristas are still unable to return to work after two weeks, additional pay may be used for up to 26 weeks, CNBC reported.
Total Retail's Take: Providing catastrophe pay is just one of the ways Starbucks is reacting to the coronavirus. The company closed one of its Seattle shops for a few days after a barista who worked at that location was diagnosed with the virus. Starbucks has also stopped accepting reusable mugs, and provided training for its baristas to learn how to properly use gloves. One of the biggest concerns to arise as the coronavirus spreads is how hourly workers will get paid if they get sick or need to quarantine themselves, and if employees will put health first at the risk of not being paid. By announcing it will provide catastrophe pay, Starbucks is reassuring its employees and sending the message that they shouldn't have to choose between work and taking care of themselves. It will be interesting to see how other retailers and brands adapt their policies to deal with coronavirus, particularly when it comes to hourly store and warehouse staff.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.