Best Buy Offers Pandemic-Related Bonuses To Employees Due To Company Layoffs

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People wear face masks outside Best Buy in Union Square as the city continues with Phase 4 of the reopening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus on September 24, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Best Buy has said it will pay pandemic-related bonuses to all hourly employees and grant additional paid time off for those who get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The consumer electronics retailer announced the bonuses on Tuesday, about two weeks after confirming it would lay off some store employees as part of a company-wide reorganization. The layoffs were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. He did not say how much the bonuses would cost the company.

Best Buy’s sales increased as consumers turned to its stores and website to purchase laptops, video game consoles, kitchen appliances and other equipment for learning, working and playing at home. home during the pandemic. Its online sales nearly tripled in the third quarter. The company declined to provide a fourth quarter outlook, however, and warned it could face higher shipping costs, inventory issues and low margin sales over the holidays.

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The company is due to release its results before the bell Thursday.

Best Buy had 125,000 full-time and part-time employees as of January 2020. It laid off around 51,000 workers in mid-April, including almost all of its part-time employees, as it decided to close stores. stores and offer curbside pickup only. In June, it began bringing back employees on leave and allowed customers to visit most of its stores without an appointment.

The company paid pandemic-related appraisal compensation to hourly store and supply chain employees between late March and early August. In August, he increased his minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.

Best Buy did not say how many employees would lose their jobs due to its reorganization. In a prepared statement, the company said the global health crisis has permanently altered more online sales – and that will change employee roles as well.

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“Our workforce will need to evolve to meet changing customer needs while providing more flexible opportunities for our employees,” he said in a statement.

A company spokesperson said workers who lost their jobs would still receive bonuses.

Hourly full-time workers will receive $ 500 and hourly part-time workers $ 200, the company said. This will not force workers to get vaccinated against Covid, but will offer an incentive for those who do: eight hours of paid leave for full-time workers and four hours of paid leave for part-time workers. If they feel sick after receiving the vaccine, Best Buy has said it will grant them additional sick leave of the same amount, depending on their full-time or part-time status.

Other retailers, including Target, Dollar General, and Kroger, also offered perks, such as additional payment or free shipping.

The pandemic has increased sales at grocery stores, big box stores and home improvement chains. Many of these companies have paid bonuses or increased their wages in recent quarters. Target ramped up plans to increase his starting salary to $ 15 an hour this summer and gave a bonus after the holiday season. Walmart recently announced that it will give a raise to 425,000 workers in digital or storage roles.

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Retailers that achieved strong sales during the pandemic have come under increased scrutiny. Their profits have skyrocketed as their workers took additional risks and in some cases fell ill or died from Covid-19 after stocking shelves or checking customers. Pressure for higher pay has also gained ground, as more states raise their minimum wages and President Joe Biden advocates for a federal minimum wage of $ 15.

Rising wages and paid time off linked to the pandemic have also weighed on company profits. Walmart, for example, said it spent $ 1.1 billion on Covid-related expenses in the fourth quarter alone.

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