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


People put on protecting face masks outdoors Best Buy in Union Square as the town continues Phase four of re-opening following restrictions imposed to gradual the unfold of coronavirus on September 24, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Best Buy stated it should pay pandemic-related bonuses to all hourly employees and provides extra paid day without work to those that get Covid-19 vaccines.

The shopper electronics retailer introduced the bonuses on Tuesday, about two weeks after it confirmed it should lay off some retailer workers as a part of a companywide reorganization. The layoffs had been first reported by The Wall Street Journal. It didn’t say how a lot the bonuses will price the company.

Best Buy’s gross sales have surged as shoppers turned to its shops and web site for laptops, online game consoles, kitchen home equipment and different gear to be taught, work and entertain themselves at dwelling throughout the pandemic. Its on-line gross sales practically tripled within the third quarter. The company declined to present an outlook for the fourth quarter, nonetheless, and cautioned it might face greater transport prices, stock challenges and lower-margin gross sales over the vacations.

The company is scheduled report its earnings earlier than the bell on Thursday.

Best Buy had 125,000 full-time and part-time employees as of January 2020. It furloughed about 51,000 employees in mid-April, together with practically all of its part-time employees, because it determined to shut shops and supply solely curbside pickup. In June, it began bringing again some furloughed employees and allowed prospects to go to most of its shops with out an appointment.

The company gave pandemic-related appreciation pay to hourly retailer and provide chain employees between late March and the start of August. In August, it raised its minimal wage to $15 an hour.

Best Buy has not stated what number of employees will lose their jobs due to its reorganization. In a ready assertion, the company stated that the worldwide well being disaster has completely shifted extra gross sales on-line — and that may change employees’ roles, too.

“Our workforce will need to evolve to meet the evolving needs of customers while providing more flexible opportunities for our people,” it stated in an announcement.

A company spokesperson stated employees who’re dropping their jobs will nonetheless obtain bonuses.

Full-time hourly employees will get $500 and part-time hourly employees will get $200, the company stated. It is not going to require employees to get Covid photographs, however will supply an incentive for many who do: Eight hours of paid day without work for full-time employees and 4 hours of paid day without work for part-time employees. If they really feel ailing after getting the vaccine, Best Buy stated it should give them extra sick time of the identical quantity, based mostly on their full- or part-time standing.

Other retailers together with Target, Dollar General and Kroger have provided perks, too, comparable to additional pay or free transportation.

The pandemic has lifted gross sales at grocers, big-box shops and residential enchancment chains. Many of these corporations have paid bonuses or elevated wages in latest quarters. Target accelerated plans to increase its beginning wage to $15 an hour this summer time and gave a bonus after its vacation season. Walmart lately introduced it might give a increase to 425,000 employees in digital or stocking roles.

Retailers with sturdy gross sales throughout the pandemic have confronted heightened scrutiny. Their earnings have soared as their employees have taken on extra dangers, and in some instances gotten sick or died from Covid-19 after stocking cabinets or trying out prospects. The push for greater pay has gained traction, too, as extra states increase their minimal wage and President Joe Biden advocates for a $15 federal minimal wage.

Higher pay and pandemic-related paid go away advantages have weighed on corporations’ earnings, too. Walmart, for instance, stated it spent $1.1 billion on Covid-related bills within the fourth quarter alone.



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