Best Buy gives pandemic-related bonuses to employees amid company layoffs


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

Noam Galai | fake images

Best Buy said it will pay pandemic-related bonuses to all hourly employees and give additional paid time off to those who receive Covid-19 vaccines.

The consumer electronics retailer announced the bonuses on Tuesday, about two weeks after it confirmed that it will lay off some of the store’s staff 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 will cost the company.

Best Buy’s sales have increased as consumers turn to its stores and websites for laptops, video game consoles, kitchen appliances and other equipment to learn, work and entertain at home during the pandemic. Its online sales nearly tripled in the third quarter. However, the company declined to provide an outlook for the fourth quarter, warning that it could face higher shipping costs, inventory challenges and lower-margin sales during the holidays.

The company is scheduled to report its earnings before the bell on Thursday.

Best Buy had 125,000 full-time and part-time employees as of January 2020. In mid-April, it laid off about 51,000 workers, including nearly all of its part-time employees, as it decided to close stores and offer only curbside pick-up. In June, it began bringing some employees back without permission and allowed customers to visit most of its stores without an appointment.

The company delivered a pandemic-related appreciation payment to store employees and the supply chain by the hour between late March and early August. In August, he raised his minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.

Best Buy has not said how many employees will lose their jobs due to its reorganization. In a prepared statement, the company said that the global health crisis has permanently changed more online sales, and that will also change the roles of employees.

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

A company spokesperson said workers who are losing their jobs will continue to receive bonuses.

Full-time hourly workers will receive $ 500 and part-time hourly workers will receive $ 200, the company said. It won’t require workers to receive Covid vaccinations, but it will offer an incentive for those who do: eight hours of paid time off for full-time workers and four hours of paid time off for part-time workers. If they feel sick after getting the vaccine, Best Buy said it will give them additional sick time of the same amount, depending on their full-time or part-time status.

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

The pandemic has raised sales in supermarkets, department stores and home improvement chains. Many of those companies have paid bonuses or increased wages in recent quarters. Target accelerated plans to increase his starting salary to $ 15 an hour this summer and awarded a bonus after the holiday season. Walmart recently announced that it would raise 425,000 workers in digital or warehousing roles.

Retailers with strong sales during the pandemic have faced increased scrutiny. Their profits have skyrocketed as their workers have taken additional risks and, in some cases, fell ill or died from Covid-19 after stocking shelves or checking customers. The pressure for a higher wage has also gained traction, as more states raise their minimum wage and President Joe Biden advocates for a federal minimum wage of $ 15.

Pandemic-related, higher-paid leave benefits have also affected company profits. Walmart, for example, said it spent $ 1.1 billion on Covid-related expenses in the fourth quarter alone.

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