Skip to main content

Starbucks offers 'catastrophic pay’ to employees exposed to coronavirus


Starbucks Corp. is temporarily extending an important benefit to employees in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Any Starbucks employee who has been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, or comes in close prolonged contact with someone in their store or household who has, is eligible for up to 14 days of catastrophe pay – whether or not they are showing symptoms – so they can self-isolate at home. 

The coffee giant said that the employee can use the catastrophe pay, and then use additional benefits such as sick pay, vacation pay or personal time off as available. At the end of 14 days, if employees are still unable to return to work, additional pay replacement may be made up to 26 weeks.

Starbucks is also advising employees who have not had any known contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, but are showing symptoms, to stay home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours. The employee can use the temporary, expanded catastrophe pay for any scheduled shifts over a three-day period, and then similarly use additional benefits like sick pay, vacation pay or personal time off.

In addition, employees that fit into the CDC’s guidelines of individuals that should take extra precautions — including people 60 and over, people with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant — are, if they chose to self-isolate, also eligible for up to 14 days of catastrophe pay with a doctor’s noted recommendation. 

Other retailers, including Walmart, have also adjusted their benefits amid the outbreak. 

“I want you to know that here at Starbucks, you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself,” Rossann Williams, executive VP and president of Starbucks’ U.S. company-operated business and Canada, said in a message ... to employees to employees on the chain’s website. “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.”

Starbucks has already additional store cleaning and sanitizing in the wake of Covid-19, including the acceptable of reusable mugs.

It has extended its measures to include guidance on the use of gloves, how to order extra hand sanitizer and how to best grind whole bean coffee that customers bring in, added Williams.

“We are taking courageous, proactive actions for you and our stores, informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health and food safety experts,” she wrote.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds