Target will raise starting wages to $15 starting July 5.
The announcement comes less than three years since the Minneapolis-based retailer made a commitment to increase starting pay from $11 to $15 by the end of 2020. By June 2019, Target had bumped pay up from $11 to $13.
“Everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose and the connection they create with our guests and communities,” Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target, said in a statement.
The timing of the $2 increase makes Target the first major retailer to permanently increase wages amid the coronavirus pandemic. During the crisis, Target offered its employees a temporary $2 hourly increase, which it extended twice during the crisis for full- and part-time employees.
Other retailers have come under fire for their weak wage responses to the pandemic, including midwest grocery retailer Kroger, which did away with its temporary $2 an hour increase dubbed “hero pay” in May, after facing backlash when they cut off the bonus in April. Starbucks, too, discontinued its $3-an-hour raise last month, and Amazon's $2 hazard pay increase for its warehouse workers has also ended.
In addition to the hourly wage bump, Target employees at retail stores and distribution centers will also receive a one-time “recognition bonus” of $200 to thank them for their work during the coronavirus crisis.
Target also unveiled additional resources intended to help support its team members by investing close to $1 billion in health care and paid leave initiatives, including providing free access to virtual health care to U.S. employees, 30-day vulnerable paid leave for those 65 and older or who are pregnant, and/or have underlying medical conditions. The company will also offer paid leave options for those employees who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19. The company will also offer free mental health services, like counseling sessions, and provide resources for anxiety and sleep management.