From Walmart to Starbucks, these 12 retail companies are changing their benefits policies amid the coronavirus pandemic

Walmart employee Walmart employee
  • Four out of 10 hourly workers don't have access to paid sick leave, according to the Department of Labor.
  • But as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, retail workers are often forced to choose between risking their health and losing income or their jobs.
  • As a result, a wave of retail companies have implemented changes to their employee benefit policies.
  • From Walmart to Starbucks, here are 11 companies that have changed their employee benefit policies in response to the coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

2020欧洲杯小组赛As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, many American retail workers face an impossible choice: go to work and risk their health and safety, or stay home and lose essential income, possibly even their jobs.

2020欧洲杯小组赛According to from the Department of Labor, four in 10 hourly workers don't have access to paid sick leave. But employees who come into work sick jeopardize the health of coworkers and customers, as well as the reputation of the company.

The US doesn't require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. But the threat of potential coronavirus outbreaks at stores has galvanized a wave of policy changes by retail companies.

Here are 11 consumer companies that have changed their employee benefits in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

Trader Joe's

supermarket trader joes
Getty Images/Michael Nagel

On March 5, Trader Joe's adjusted2020欧洲杯小组赛 its sick leave policy in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The grocery chain told employees in an internal memo viewed by Business Insider to stay home if they have symptoms or do not feel well.

Managers will be able to approve reimbursement of time off taken by employees unable to work. The company said that employees who miss more than a week of work will have their situations reviewed on an individual basis by HR.

Darden Restaurants

Olive Garden

On Monday, Olive Garden's parent company, Darden Restaurants, announced that it would give all hourly employees paid sick leave, effective immediately.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Hourly employees now accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and current employees have immediate access to a "starting balance" based on their last 26 workweeks.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Darden also owns Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, Seasons 52, and Bahama Breeze.



Walmart employee

Walmart followed suit on Tuesday, announcing2020欧洲杯小组赛 in a memo that it would waive its attendance policy through the end of April as part of a new emergency leave policy.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Employees can now opt to stay home and take unpaid leave if they feel unable to work or uncomfortable coming to work. 

Walmart employees who contract the virus will receive "up to two weeks of pay," the company said in the memo. After two weeks, hourly associates who aren't able to return to work are eligible for up to 26 weeks in pay.



Apple Worker Employee Genius Bar Logo
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

On Tuesday, Apple reportedly sent out an internal memo saying all office workers would be able to work from home, according to 9to5Mac.

Additionally, hourly employees including retail workers would be able to take unlimited sick leave if they have coronavirus-like symptoms. Workers seeking paid sick leave for coronavirus symptoms wouldn't be required to provide a doctor's note.

Apple did not respond to Business Insider's request for more details about its leave policy.


Starbucks barista
Mark Makela/Reuters

2020欧洲杯小组赛Starbucks on Wednesday that it would provide "catastrophe pay" to US baristas who come into contact with coronavirus. The chain had already implemented the policy in China.

2020欧洲杯小组赛If a barista has been exposed to or come into contact with someone with the virus, or has been diagnosed with the virus, they will receive up to 14 days of paid leave. Similar to Darden's policy, Starbucks is offering additional pay — up to 26 days — to workers who are still unable to work after the original 14 days.

2020欧洲杯小组赛High-risk workers with doctors' notes are also eligible for catastrophe pay. Ill but undiagnosed workers are eligible for three days of leave coverage while they are tested for the virus.


instacart shopper suv

As of March 9, any part-time employees or shoppers diagnosed with the coronavirus up to 14 days of paid sick leave. The policy will last until April 7. 

2020欧洲杯小组赛The company also changed its policy to allow both full-time and part-time in-store shoppers to accrue sick pay. Shoppers will earn one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked, for a total of up to 40 hours a year, backdated effective to the start of 2020.  


doordash dasher courier delivery 6

DoorDash's policy is similar to Instacart's: 14 days of paid sick leave to any drivers who are diagnosed with the coronavirus or who are subject to quarantine. The new policy was first by The Verge on Tuesday.


postmates courier delivery 9861
Melia Robinson

2020欧洲杯小组赛Also on Tuesday, a "fleet relief fund" to help couriers pay for the cost of medical check-ups. In order to take advantage of the fund, couriers do not have to have been quarantined or diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Postmates couriers who have made at least one delivery in certain states in the last two weeks will be able to use money from the fund to cover medical costs. This includes the District of Columbia and these states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.


amazon worker
Noah Berger/Reuters

2020欧洲杯小组赛On Wednesday, Amazon announced an update to its sick leave policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company announced2020欧洲杯小组赛 it would provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave to all employees quarantined for or diagnosed with the coronavirus. The policy also applies to warehouse workers and hourly employees. The company is also offering unlimited sick leave through the end of March for all hourly employees.

Amazon is also establishing a relief fund with a $25 million initial contribution to support contractors, such as courier companies and their drivers, Amazon Flex drivers, and seasonal employees.


lowes employee
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On Wednesday, for its employees. The company is encouraging employees who feel sick to stay home.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Anyone quarantined or diagnosed with the coronavirus will be able to take up to 14 paid days off. The days off will not count against the employee's sick, vacation, or holiday time, and they will be paid for their sick leave until their physician releases them to return to work.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Employees at medium or high risk of contracting the virus due to contact with an individual with the virus or travel to a high-risk area will also receive 14 days of paid time off, to be spent in quarantine.


target employee
Jim Young/Reuters

On Thursday, Target updated its policies in reaction to the coronavirus. The retailer waived its absenteeism policy for employees who experience flu-like symptoms or who are affected by school or daycare closures.

The chain also implemented quarantine pay and confirmed illness pay, both lasting 14 days. Quarantine pay will apply to employees who are placed under mandatory quarantine, and confirmed illness pay will apply to employees diagnosed with the coronavirus.


Moses Robinson/Getty Images for KFC

KFC US confirmed to Business Insider on Friday that the chain will pay employees at corporate-owned restaurants for up to two weeks of scheduled shifts. Employees who are eligible for the pay include employees who have either been diagnosed with or exposed to the coronavirus, or show symptoms. Employees ordered to self-quarantine or affected by restaurant closures will also receive the emergency paid leave.

SEE ALSO: Walmart, McDonald's, Home Depot, and 15 other retailers share how the coronavirus outbreak could affect business

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