Retailers

Target Bumps Starting Wage to $15; Extends COVID Health Benefits

$2-per-hour increase meets retailer's 2017 goal
Target storefront, Richmond
Photograph courtesy Target Corp.

Target Corp. said it would reach its goal of a $15 starting hourly wage for all hourly workers beginning July 5.

The company also announced it was providing a $200 one-time “recognition bonus” to all store and distribution center workers as it suspends a $2-per-hour premium pay it extended to workers during the coronavirus crisis. Target also said it would offer workers free access to virtual doctor visits through the end of this year, regardless of whether they currently subscribe to a Target healthcare plan. Welfare policies enacted during the crisis, including a 30-day paid leave for vulnerable team members and free backup care for family members, were also being extended, the Minneapolis-based mass merchant said.

Target said the $15 wage was 25% higher than the industry average. The hourly raise is the first since a bump to $13 per hour in June 2019. The company said it would reach the $15 threshold in September 2017, when its starting wage was $11 per hour.

“In the best of times, our team brings incredible energy and empathy to our work, and in harder times they bring those qualities plus extraordinary resilience and agility to keep Target on the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests and our business year after year,” Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target, said in a release. “Everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose and the connection they create with our guests and communities.”

The $200 recognition bonus will be distributed at the end of July. It follows previously distributed bonus payments of $250 to $1,500 to hourly store team leads who oversee store departments.

Target said the wage increases, bonuses and premium pay and other investments in the safety and well-being of workers represents an increase of $1 billion over last year.

To support the health and safety of team members during a stressful year for the country, Target will also offer free access to healthcare through virtual doctor visits, regardless of whether team members currently subscribe to a Target healthcare plan. The offering is through the CirrusMD app and focuses on virtual healthcare visits for team members to securely text, share images or video chat with a doctor. The platform will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no extra cost to U.S.-based team members until the end of December 2020, so they can conveniently and safely seek medical advice at a time of heightened focus on health and well-being.

Target’s extended benefits related to COVID-19 provide a 30-day paid leave for team members who are 65 or older, pregnant or have underlying medical conditions per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eligible team members who have not yet used this one-time 30-day leave option will continue to have access to this benefit.

Free backup care for all U.S. team members has been extended through the end of August.

Target will continue to waive its absenteeism policy and offer paid leave options for team members who are symptomatic, have a confirmed case of coronavirus or have been quarantined due to exposure. And with the strains of both COVID-19 and social unrest, Target said it would continue to support team members’ mental health by offering free counseling sessions, along with new anxiety and sleep resources that have been made available to all team members.

“The most important investments we make are in our team. I have tremendous gratitude for the way our team members show up with such purpose and pride for our guests, communities and one another,” said Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer. “These investments help ensure that team members can build meaningful careers, take care of themselves and their families and contribute to building our communities through their work inside and outside of Target.”

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