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CVS Health adding benefits as a result of coronavirus

The retailer is turning to bonuses, expanded sick leave and a daycare benefit to assist and keep its employees during the pandemic.
By: | March 30, 2020 • 3 min read
(Photo credit: CVS Health)

CVS Health is expanding and adding benefits for its employees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Joining other retailers that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic and are eager to keep workers, the company says it’s expanding sick leave for part-time employees, handing out bonuses and adding a daycare benefit for all employees.

Related: 8 benefits employers should zero in on during the COVID-19 pandemic

The company now offers 24 hours of paid sick leave to part-time employees for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s in addition to the 14-day paid leave the company will provide to any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 or needs to be quarantined as a result of potential exposure. CVS Health already offers full-time employees paid sick leave, the company notes.

Employees at CVS locations across the country will receive bonuses between $150 and $500. The bonuses have been earmarked for pharmacists and healthcare professionals on the frontlines, store associates and managers, and other site-based hourly employees.

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Additionally, the company is rolling out a childcare and eldercare benefit that will give employees up to 25 fully covered days of backup care. The benefit—offered through provider Bright Horizons—kicks in in early April for full- and part-time employees.

Read all of HRE’s coronavirus coverage here.

Childcare and caregiving benefits are getting more attention in recent days, as schools throughout the country have closed, leaving employees who must go to work struggling to find care for their children. Target also recently said it will give all its employees access to a backup family care benefit—a plan that was previously offered to some of its workers—to help employees through the pandemic.

Related: The new reality of remote work and caregiving

Emergency COVID-19 sick leave and employee bonuses have also been embraced by other employers as a response to the pandemic. Kroger, for instance, is providing a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate, amounting to $300 for full-time associates and $150 for part-time associates. Kroger also will give employees up to 14 paid sick days if they are either diagnosed with or placed under quarantine due to COVID-19, or for symptoms as verified by an accredited healthcare professional.

Meanwhile, Walmart is handing out bonuses of $300 to full-time employees and $150 to part-time employees for a total payout of more than $365 million.

HR organization WorldatWork said last week that about a quarter of the 267 employers it surveyed planned to provide hazard pay for employees who are required to work on-site during the pandemic. Of those, 9% said they will offer a cash incentive that is a flat dollar amount, 8% will give cash incentives tied to hours and shifts worked, and 9% will give cash incentives that are based on a different formula, such as a percentage of salary.

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Employers turning to bonuses and other benefits say they are a way to help employees through unprecedented times, as well as show appreciation for their work.

“Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they’re needed most,” CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo said in a statement. “As they continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we’re taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times.”

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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