In a letter to employees last week, Starbucks acknowledged that some workers did not get the hours they expected and noted that they might not get them for some time. Although 85% of US stores have reopened, they are operating on reduced hours and Starbucks encourages workers to take unpaid time off.
The New American Business Landscape
Starbucks initially paid all of its employees until May 3, giving them the option to stay home and hand out bonuses to those who entered. From May 4, the coffee chain began reopening closed stores at reduced hours and with many conditions, restricting take-out and drive-through operations in most cases.
Starbucks expects all features to return by September, but even that is uncertain under current circumstances.
Half in, half out
This puts Starbucks in a difficult position as it cannot support all of its employees while stores are only partially open. Executive Vice President and President of U.S. Retail Rossann Williams wrote the letter to inform workers of the company’s new COVID-19 leave policy, which aims to ease the blow to workers who choose not to work at the moment. The plan allows Starbucks employees to retain their benefits including Lyra, Headspace, Spotify, Care @ Work, Starbucks College Achievement Plan, and in-store discounts. Starbucks will also continue to pay health care premiums for workers enrolled in health plans.
As part of this program, the company encourages workers on leave to take advantage of government-sponsored unemployment benefits. He also acknowledged that some workers may choose to leave completely rather than take reduced hours or unpaid time off.
New challenges in store
While the company deals with putting guidelines and restrictions in place for optimal customer safety, it also closed several stores over the weekend as a result of the current protest environment due to damage or to protect workers.
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