- Gap Inc. said last week it would offer $300 bonuses to eligible frontline employees at its stores and customer experience centers.
- The retailer said the payments would be made available to some 70,000 eligible hourly employees in the U.S., Canada, Japan, the U.K., Ireland and Italy.
- The move aims to "honor our frontline team members … who served as the lifeblood of our business through acute COVID impacts and delivered an incredible experience for our customers through it all," Gap said.
Gap's announcement follows decisions by other retailers to similarly offer bonuses and incentives to in-store and frontline workers in the past year.
Last December, Walmart said it would pay some $388 million in cash bonuses to U.S employees in recognition of their service during the pandemic, Retail Dive reported. Target announced in October 2020 a plan to provide $200 bonuses to frontline workers ahead of the holiday season. In January, the chain announced a round of $500 bonuses to all of its hourly employees working in stores, distribution centers, headquarters and field-based offices.
Such investments have occurred against the backdrop of worker advocates pushing for higher wages and additional payments for employees, particularly those in jobs considered essential during the pandemic.
Take hazard pay, for example. A 2020 data analysis by the Brookings Institution showed retailer commitments to providing hazard pay ended despite COVID-19 case rates increasing in the months following the end of those commitments. In May 2020, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union issued a statement criticizing food retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Kroger, for ending such payments, Grocery Dive reported.
Most U.S. essential workers may not have seen hazard pay at all; an April 2020 survey published by HR association WorldatWork showed 65% of employer respondents did not plan to offer such incentives to their on-site workers. However, the same survey did show that more than half of employers were at least planning to pay out, or had already paid out, salary increases in 2020.