Target is making good on a pledge it made some three years ago — and it’s doing so several months ahead of time.
The discounter is permanently raising its starting wage to $15 an hour, beginning on July 5. (In 2017, Target committed to hitting the metric by yearend 2020). The wage hike puts Target ahead of rival Walmart, whose starting wage is $11 an hour, and in line with Amazon.
Target is also giving out a one-time recognition bonus of $200 to its frontline full-time and part-time hourly employees at stores and distribution centers for their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The new bonus is on top of bonuses of $250 to $1,500 that Target paid out in April to 20,000 hourly store team leads who oversee individual departments in Target stores.
In total, Target noted it will have invested nearly $1 billion more this year in the well-being, health and safety of employees than it did in 2019, including increased wages, paid leaves, bonus payouts, personal protective equipment, and a donation to the Target employee giving fund.
Target is also adding a new benefit to support the health and safety of employees “during a stressful year for the country.” Starting this week Target it will offer free access to health care through virtual doctor visits, regardless of whether the employee currently subscribe to a Target health care plan.
The new benefit follows in the wake of other benefits the chain has added during the pandemic, including free backup care for employees’ children or needy adults through August, free mental health counseling and 30-day paid leave for employees at higher risk of COVID-19.
“In the best of times, our team brings incredible energy and empathy to our work, and in harder times they bring those qualities plus extraordinary resilience and agility to keep Target on the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests and our business year after year,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target. “Everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose and the connection they create with our guests and communities.”