As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally and more employers are urging their workers to stay home, the restaurant industry is in a bind because foodservice employees don’t have the luxury of working from home. On the heels of announcing paid sick leave to quarantined employees at the Seattle Starbucks that was temporarily closed after an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19, Starbucks is temporarily expanding its catastrophe pay to cover COVID-19-affected employees, as announced in a letter to employees on Wednesday.
Here are the details:
- Any Starbucks employee that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone who has (regardless of whether they have symptoms) will self-isolate at home and receive up to 14 days of full pay, which can then be supplemented by additional paid time off benefits. If the worker runs out and is still sick, “additional pay replacement” can be made available for up to 26 weeks.
- If employees are showing symptoms, they will first self-isolate at home for 24 hours, and then catastrophe pay can be used to pay for any scheduled shifts over the course of 3 days, and then they can dip into their additional paid time off.
- Any employees over the age of 60, pregnant partners, or those with underlying heart disease or lung disease issues are also eligible for the 14 days of catastrophe pay.
“At Starbucks, you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself,” Rossann Williams, executive vice president of Starbucks, said in an open letter to all employees. “You have our full support when it comes to partner care, including access to catastrophe pay, benefits that support your physical and mental health, as well as a network of partners who are all here to help.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks is also encouraging employees to donate to the CUP Fund, a communal fund that helps Starbucks employees help their colleagues in time of need. At this time, Starbucks is matching a dollar for every 50 cents donated.
No details were offered on whether or not Starbucks’ health insurance is seeing any changes during the coronavirus pandemic. Starbucks did not respond to request for comment in time for publication.
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