Following Word of Layoffs, Best Buy Announces Covid Bonuses

Following Word of Layoffs, Best Buy Announces Covid Bonuses

The retailer will provide $500 bonuses for full-time employees in the U.S and $200 for part-time workers.

Best Buy Co. on Tuesday announced that it will provide a one-time “gratitude bonus” to all hourly employees for their work throughout the pandemic.

Full-time U.S. employees will receive a $500 bonus, while part-time U.S. workers will get a $200 bonus. The retailer is providing the bonus for all workers that had been with the company as of Feb. 15. That means some employees who are leaving the company or were laid off will still receive the extra cash.

Best Buy is giving the bonuses to show appreciation for workers’ “resilience, flexibility and a commitment to our purpose of enriching lives through technology,” officials said in a blog post.

The retailer also plans to give workers paid time off to get a Covid-19 vaccine, though it’s not requiring employees to get vaccinated. In the blog post, company officials said Best Buy still “strongly encourages” workers to get the vaccine.

Best Buy’s announcement comes nearly two weeks after word leaked about the company’s plan to reduce its retail staff.

Earlier this month, a group of workers organized a petition on demanding that the retailer provide compensation for its “willful labor cuts.” A petition organizer told TCB that Best Buy officials are aware of the campaign, and that the effort likely played a role in the company’s decision to provide Covid bonuses.

“I’m definitely leaning toward this bonus being put out, in part, because of our petition,” the organizer said. “But I don’t think the way that it’s being presented or the amount of money that they’re offering is exactly a solution to this problem.”

In the petition, organizers said that Best Buy has reduced its retail labor force at more than 150 stores. As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had garnered nearly 4,000 signatures.

Best Buy has reported solid sales growth in its second and third quarters, though company officials suggested that the trend wouldn’t continue in future quarters. Like many big-box retailers, Best Buy has seen a massive uptick in e-commerce during the pandemic. In the second quarter alone, the company reported a 242 percent increase in online sales.

But the change in consumer behavior is evidently prompting the retailer to reconsider its staffing needs. Earlier this month, a spokesman noted that Best Buy’s workforce “will need to evolve to meet the evolving needs of customers.”