8 companies stepping up during the Coronavirus

8 companies stepping up during the Coronavirus

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic government and businesses alike have been pressed to respond to the challenges of a mass shutdown of businesses within the U.S. Some organizations have done well, and in a few cases have gone above and beyond, to help their workers. Let’s take a look at eight organizations we think are doing an awesome job at providing peace of mind and financial stability during these uneasy times.


Perhaps the most impressive example of a company acting quickly to support its workers has been set by Starbucks. From March 21st through May 31st Starbucks had raised all salaries by an additional $3 per hour. Employees exposed to or diagnosed with Coronavirus were also eligible to receive what the company calls “Catastrophe Pay” from May 4th until May 31st. Employees of closed stores have since been eligible to continue receiving Catastrophe Pay. 

On top of that, Starbucks has been offering employees experiencing financial difficulty Hardship Grants, sourced from the $10 million dollar CUP (Caring Unites Partners Fund). This isn’t Starbucks’ first rodeo dealing out emergency relief to employees. The CUP Fund was established in 1998 and has since supported more than 28,000 individuals. 

Home Depot

Home Depot has expanded benefits for its employees by adding 80 hours of PTO for all full-time hourly employees and 40 hours of PTO for all part-time employees. The company added 160 hours of PTO for full-time employees over 65 or considered to be at higher risk by the CDC, and added 80 hours of PTO for part-time workers.

Home Depot is also providing double-time pay for those hourly employees working overtime They have also included additional bonuses to hourly associates at $100 per week for full-time employees and $50 per week for part-time employees in stores and distribution centers. . This incremental paid time off can be used anytime between now and the end of the year, and will be paid out to employees by the end of the year if not used.

Verizon Communications

Of all the sick leave policies that have been introduced since March, Verizon may have implemented the most robust of these policies. The company’s Covid-19 specific paid leave policy offers 100% of pay to affected employees for 8 weeks, and 60% of pay for 16 weeks. Moreover, Verizon has committed to not laying off any of its 135,000 employees. And even though it is the largest wireless carrier by subscribers in the U.S., the company has held back on cutting service for those customers who are unable to to pay their phone bills. 


As of March 10, 2020, Walmart implemented a formal COVID-19 emergency leave policy that can be used under three different circumstances:

  1. if any employee is unable or uncomfortable to come into work that they are permitted to stay at home and be paid from their regular PTO options. 
  2. in the case that employees cannot work because of mandated quarantining, those employees will receive up to two weeks pay.
  3. if an employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19 they will receive two-weeks pay with additional pay to the extent that they are unable to return to work. 

Employees enrolled in the company’s medical plan have virtually  free access to the telehealth service Doctor on Demand  (the usual $4 co-pay has been waived). Moreover, all employees and their family members have the option to use three free behavioral counseling sessions and unlimited telephonic counseling. This applies to all employees and their family members, not just those employees enrolled in the company’s medical plan. 


As of March 25th, AT&T has extended its original 80 hours of PTO to up to a total of 160 hours for employees that:

  1. have tested positive for COVID-19 and are to remain quarantined
  2. are at higher risk due to underlying health conditions
  3. are parents or guardians of children whose schools have been closed due to COVID-19 and for those who are able to find an alternative childcare option.

AT&T has also doubled the number of PTO hours previously available to qualifying employees as well as a 20% bonus to front-line workers. 

The Kroger Co.

Kroger is America’s largest supermarket chain with 2,500 locations and a workforce of 435,000 employees. The company offered a temporary $2 per hour pay increase until mid-May (which has been criticized by union leaders) and then provided an additional one-time bonus of $400 to full-time workers and $150 for all part-time workers. Qualifying workers have access to two weeks (14 days) of standard pay. 


Target has taken several measures to help their employees, amounting to $500 million dollars in extended benefits and safety measures for team members. Wages for all full-time and part-time employees have been raised by $2-per-hour, earning team members $240-$480 more, on average, until July 4th. Team members 65 or older, pregnant, or with underlying health conditions have access to paid leave for up to 30 days. In April, bonuses ranging from $250-$1,500 were paid to 20,000 hourly teams leads who oversee individual departments. 

Bank of America

After having to reduce branch hours across all 4,300 locations, Bank of America is providing all branch workers with a biweekly $200 bonus. Hour reductions notwithstanding, workers have been paid for their regular, full schedule. The bank has reduced its Monday to Friday hours from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. These hour reductions allow for the daily cleanings of the branches, which raises the point that all high-traffic businesses are to also meet the sanitary requirements for containing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In an impressive gesture, Bank of America has also established a $100 million dollar relief fund for local communities and also vowed to not have a single coronavirus-linked layoff through 2020.

Prioritizing the employee

All the above-mentioned businesses are making the wellbeing of their employees a top priority. They’ve put people over profit. These companies are dipping deep into their own pockets to make sure their employees have the basic goods necessary to provide for themselves and their families. People need to pay bills and would likely work for less money then what they’ve been offered by these companies. But luckily they’ve not been left behind. This is a vision of the future of work that we can all get behind.

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