Chipotle Mexican Grill said it is giving hourly workers a 10% pay increase through April 12, joining other restaurant and supermarket chains offering so-called appreciation pay for employees serving consumers during the novel coronavirus health crisis.
“This assistance pay is simply one of the ways that we’re expressing our appreciation for those who are willing and able to continue working during this time,” CEO Brian Niccol said in email sent to the chain’s customer base.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based fast casual chain, along with the rest of the industry, has shifted to an off-premise model as states across the U.S. order the closure of dine-in operations. For several days, Chipotle has been serving guests through takeout, mobile order/pick-up and delivery services.
Niccol said workers are “are working tirelessly prepping, cooking and serving” guests during “this dynamic" situation.
The 10% pay increase is effective for those working shifts between March 16 and April 12.
In addition to a pay increase, Niccol said the company has expanded its emergency leave benefits to accommodate those directly affected by COVID-19. Other chains have done the same including McDonald's and Noodles & Company.
“These individuals may receive pay equal to their upcoming 2-week schedule or average hours worked, whichever is greater,” he said in the letter. “At Chipotle, employees never have to choose between work and taking care of themselves.”
Under the company’s current policy, employees receive three paid sick days starting on the first day of employment. Workers also receive vacation, paid time off and personal leave options, as well as a host of other perks such as quarterly bonuses and tuition assistance.
Restaurants, and other companies in the United States, with fewer than 500 employees are now required to pay employees who miss work due to issues related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, following the signing into law on March 18 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Other restaurant and retail chains providing employees a boost in compensation amid the COVID-19 pandemic include Starbucks, Walmart, Kroger, Amazon and Albertsons. The $3 an hour pay boost for store-level Starbucks employees is effective from March 21 through April 19.
Niccol, who has led a massive turnaround at the company, ended the letter by telling customers: “We’re committed to keeping you informed as we navigate through this evolving situation together. We are continuing to adhere to the guidance of the CDC, FDA, and local officials to make choices in the best interest of our employees, our guests and the community. We will get through this together.”
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