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Target updates benefits in wake of coronavirus

Joining other employers that are making changes during the pandemic, the retailer will provide backup family care and more paid sick time.
By: | March 18, 2020 • 2 min read
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Target is changing up its employee benefits as the coronavirus pandemic presses on.

The retailer said this week it will give all its employees access to a backup family care benefit—a plan that was previously offered to some Target workers—to help employees through the pandemic.

“In the face of school and other care-facility closures, backup care will be available to all, including frontline team members who are doing so much right now,” Target CEO and Chairman Brian Cornell said in a statement.

Target rolled out a backup daycare benefit last fall, providing workers with 20 days of “in-center childcare or in-home child- and eldercare” through a partner network. In light of coronavirus, the retailer is waiving eligibility requirements, copays and other program details.

Childcare 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.

Cornell also said this week that the company is encouraging all employees who are able to work remotely to do so.

The updated family care benefits join other changes Target made late last week. Those include temporarily waiving the absenteeism policy for employees who experience flu-like symptoms or who are affected by school or daycare closures; and implementing quarantine pay and confirmed illness pay, both lasting 14 days.

“We’ll also continue to offer benefits like paid family leave and free counseling services for the range of challenges our team might be facing,” Cornell said.

Target is one of several companies making changes to their employee benefits packages as coronavirus changes workplace dynamics. Darden Restaurants, which owns popular eateries like Olive Garden and Yard House, expanded its paid sick leave policy to include hourly workers across its different restaurant brands.

Related: Paid leave at the center of the coronavirus conversation

Amazon, DoorDash, Instacart and Lowe’s said they would provide up to 14 paid days off to any employee quarantined or diagnosed with the coronavirus. Meanwhile, several employers are implementing and encouraging remote work benefits.

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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