Starbucks (SBUX) says it will extend its temporary COVID-19 benefits for its U.S. employees, including higher hourly wages for those working and catastrophe pay for those who choose not to work or can’t work, until May 3.
“We feel these are important benefits to extend at this time, so whether you are taking care of a loved one, responsibly self-isolating, or choosing to stay at home for any reason, you can have the confidence that you do not have to choose between coming to work and your personal well-being during this crisis,” Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada, wrote in a letter seen by Yahoo Finance.
“In fact, any partner who is sick, or feels more comfortable self-isolating for any reason can stay home and use Catastrophe Pay. Partners who are healthy and choosing to work will continue to receive an additional $3 per hour with Service Pay.”
Through May 3, Starbucks will also continue to operate with suspended indoor access at all of its 15,000-plus U.S. cafés.
On March 20, Starbucks pivoted to drive-thru and delivery only to adhere to social distancing. About 60% of the 15,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. offer drive-thru service. The coffee chain offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats across 49 markets in the U.S.
“These are two significant steps that we can continue to take to help prevent social gathering in our stores, while still being able to be in service of our communities and front-line responders as safely as possible through select Drive-Thru, MO&P and Delivery Only stores,” Williams wrote, adding that after May 3, they “intend to slowly begin to adjust back to more normal operating models and benefits plans, recognizing that the COVID-19 situation in each community is still incredibly different and fluid.”
Starbucks was among the earlier companies to offer catastrophe pay. The company will continue paying all of its partners through May 3 regardless of whether they work or not. For those choosing to work, however, the coffee giant recently sweetened the hourly pay with an extra $3 per hour.
The coffee chain will also begin sending thermometers to its stores for employees to use before their shifts, but it’s a “completely voluntary step.”
Elsewhere, all Starbucks partners, whether they’re working a shift or not, can also get access to childcare as part of the benefits extension.
In a recent letter, CEO Kevin Johnson said every business has a responsibility “to care for its employees during this time of uncertainty, shared sacrifice, and common cause.”
“I hope to see many business leaders across this country doing all they can to retain jobs, pay employees, continue benefits, and demonstrate compassion as they make critical decisions. Not every decision is a financial one,” he added.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.