Target Makes $15 an Hour Permanent

Gina Acosta
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Target Makes $15 an Hour Permanent
Target's announcement comes as many other food retailers do away with pandemic-related wage increases.

Target is making good on a three-year-old promise to increase its starting pay to $15 an hour.

The retailer said that it will permanently raise its starting wage for U.S. employees, which had been $13 an hour, to $15 per hour starting July 5.

This isn't the first time that Target workers will earn $15 an hour; the retailer had implemented a $2-an-hour "hazard pay" increase in March. But the company's decision to fulfill a 2017 pledge now makes it look like the retailer is making its hazard pay boost a permanent bump. The bold move comes at a time when many other food retailers are rescinding their pandemic-related "hazard pay" increases. Kroger ended its $2-an-hour boost in May, while Amazon plans to go back to its normal pay rates this month.

The permanent wage hike also comes at a time when consumers, who are relying on grocery workers more than ever, are rallying around these workers and calling them "heroes" who should get paid higher wages.

Additionally, Target said that it will give a one-time recognition bonus of $200 to its frontline store and distribution center hourly workers for their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The one-time $200 recognition bonus will be distributed at the end of July to eligible full- and part-time hourly team members at both stores and distribution centers. This is on top of bonuses of $250 to $1,500 paid out in April to 20,000 hourly store team leads who oversee individual departments in Target stores.

Target is also offering free access to virtual doctor visits for all employees through the end of the year, regardless of whether they currently subscribe to a Target health care plan. Further, the company rolled out additional extensions of a 30-day paid leave for vulnerable employees, as well as free backup care for family members.

With these changes, Target will invest 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 $1 million donation to the Target Team Member Giving Fund.

“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 of Target Corp. “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.”

Other benefits that Target will extend include:

  • Free backup care for all U.S. employees through the end of August. The benefit provides access to child care or care for another family member, and Target will continue to waive co-pays. By the end of August, employees will have been provided access to free backup care for their family members for more than five months. 
  • Target will continue to waive its absenteeism policy and offer paid-leave options for employees who are symptomatic, have a confirmed case of coronavirus or have been quarantined due to exposure.
  • As associates deal with the stresses both of COVID-19 and social unrest, Target will continue to support employees’ mental health by offering free counseling sessions, along with new anxiety and sleep resources that have been made available to all team members.

“The most important investments we make are in our team. I have tremendous gratitude for the way our team members show up with such purpose and pride for our guests, communities and one another,” said Melissa Kremer, Target’s CHRO. “These investments help ensure that team members can build meaningful careers, take care of themselves and their families, and contribute to building our communities through their work inside and outside of Target.”  

Target operates more than 1,800 stores, 39 distribution centers and The Minneapolis-based company is No. 7 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.

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