To ensure the well-being of its employees amid coronavirus concerns, Starbucks announced Wednesday that it will expand catastrophe pay for COVID-19 care.
In a letter, Starbucks U.S. president Rossann Williams said any employees who have been diagnosed with or exposed to the coronavirus, or have come into contact with someone in their store or house who have been exposed or diagnosed, are eligible for up to 14 days of catastrophe pay so they can self-quarantine, regardless if they’re symptomatic. After use of catastrophe pay, workers can utilize sick pay, vacation pay, or personal time off as available. If employees are unable to return after 14 days, pay replacement may be made up to 26 weeks.
Williams said employees who haven’t had any known contact with someone who was diagnosed but still show symptoms should stay home until the symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours. Older workers who are at-risk due to underlying conditions are also eligible for 14 days of catastrophe pay with a doctor’s note.
To assist employees impacted by COVID-19, Starbucks is matching 50 cents for every $1 donated to its CUP Fund, which was started 22 years ago to support employees with unexpected financial hardship.
“As we navigate COVID-19 together, what matters most is how we, as a company, care for you,” Williams said in the letter. “I want you to know that here at Starbucks, you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself. 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.”
The coffee chain temporarily closed a Reserve bar in Seattle last week after an employee tested positive for the virus. The company also announced last week that it was temporarily suspending the use of personal cups at all locations, but it will still honor the 10-cent discount for anyone who brings one inside. The chain hasn’t reported any effect on U.S. sales, but it does expect to see a $400 million to $430 million hit in revenue in China.
The news comes after Olive Garden Parent Darden Restaurants granted paid sick leave to its employees and McDonald’s announced pay for quarantined employees at corporate stores.