Starbucks unveils election perk for employees

The coffee giant will provide all U.S. workers a free one-way ride to the polls.
By: | October 7, 2020 • 2 min read
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As employers increasingly look at ways to get their employees involved on Election Day, Starbucks has unveiled a unique perk for all of its employees: free transportation to the polls.

The coffee giant says it will provide all U.S. employees with a free one-way Lyft ride (up to $75) to the polls to vote, volunteer as a poll worker, or drop off a ballot at a post office, ballot box or other official ballot drop location. The perk is available until Nov. 3. The company, with 200,000 U.S. workers, unveiled the news on its website Tuesday.

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Related: How Old Navy is getting workers involved in the election

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson previously told employees they wouldn’t have to choose between working or voting on Election Day. He said employees would get flexibility on Nov. 3, encouraging them to plan with managers and schedule time to vote or volunteer at polling places.

“The upcoming election is a reminder that we, as citizens, play an active role in our society by simply getting involved and voting,” Johnson said. “Who you vote for is a very personal decision that you make as a citizen. It is one way for you to be heard. It is how democracy works.”

Starbucks is the latest employer to get involved in the upcoming election. Old Navy, which has more than 50,000 U.S. workers, announced last month that it will give store workers a full day of pay in return for serving as poll workers, regardless of whether they are scheduled to work on Nov. 3.

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And more than 1,400 employers have committed to giving employees at least a few hours off to vote on Election Day through a nonpartisan movement called Time to Vote. Employers include Verizon, Google, JCPenney and Target.

Related: Here’s why Verizon is giving workers PTO to vote

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.