Why Target is extending COVID benefits, handing out another bonus

The retailer says it spent $1 billion more in 2020 on the health, safety and wellbeing of employees compared to 2019.
By: | January 26, 2021 • 2 min read
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Target is giving employees their fifth COVID-19-related bonus, amounting to a cost of about $200 million for the company, the retailer announced Monday.

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All hourly team members—including seasonal hires—will receive a $500 bonus, while frontline leaders will receive bonuses ranging from $1,000-$2,000. The employer also is extending coronavirus benefits into 2021 to help team members and their families navigate the impact of the pandemic. Target updated its benefits policies several times last year as a result of the pandemic, giving all its employees access to free virtual healthcare, quarantine and confirmed illness pay, and a backup family care benefit—a plan that was previously offered to some Target workers.

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“Never has their dedication, resiliency, care and compassion been more appreciated than during the pandemic,” Target said of its workers in a statement.

The retailer says it spent $1 billion more in 2020 on the health, safety and wellbeing of employees compared to 2019.

Employers, especially retailers, have turned to bonuses, more pay and enhanced benefits to keep employees working—and happy—during the pandemic. A survey of more than 50 major U.S. retailers last year by consulting firm Korn Ferry found that 43% of essential retailer respondents say they have increased hourly pay, while 17% say they offered a bonus, and 22% said they are offering both increased hourly pay and a bonus.

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One reason employers are turning to these rewards is due to “recognizing that these employees were being asked to work in the public while much of the rest of America was asked to stay at home to limit their risk of catching the virus,” Craig Rowley, senior client partner and retail expert at Korn Ferry, told HRE.

Related: Target updates benefits in wake of coronavirus

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.