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Target announces pay rise for workers, will also pay out early bonuses

Target is following the lead of Cub and Kowalski's in rewarding its staff during the coronavirus crisis.

Target has announced it will be increasing the pay for its workers by $2 an hour and paying out early bonuses to team leaders in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Grocery store workers are finding themselves on the frontlines of the response to the coronavirus, continuing to work despite the potential risk of contracting the bug while others are told to stay home.

Their efforts are now being recognized in the form of pay rises, with Target following Cub Foods and Kowalski's in announcing a $2 per hour pay increase for its hourly staff effective immediately.

The pay rise will be good until at least May 2, and is available to both full and part-time workers whether they work in store or in fulfillment centers.

It is also paying out bonuses in April to 20,000 store "team leads" who oversee departments in Target stores, who will receive payments of between $250 to $1,500.

"With each passing day, it’s clearer how indispensable our team is to communities across the country as our guests cope with the coronavirus," said CEO Brian Cornell.

'Increasing their compensation for a job incredibly well done and ensuring continued compensation for those who need to care for themselves and their families is a reflection of our company’s values and simply the right thing to do."

The Minneapolis retailer also says it's making paid medical leave for up to 30 days available to either pregnant staffers or those most at risk from COVID-19 – namely those aged 65 and older or with underlying health conditions.

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However, the same paid leave isn't being made available to workers who don't meet these requirements, which has seen Target the subject of criticism this week with an article in The Nation suggesting workers are living "in fear" because they don't know if they'll get paid if they're sick.

Target is offering "confirmed illness pay" to workers who contract COVID-19, but in Minnesota the problem is a shortage of tests means someone with the virus might find it difficult getting it diagnosed, with health officials telling most with mild symptoms just to stay home and isolate.

It is also temporarily waiving its "absenteeism" policy, and has donated $1 million to its Target Team Member Giving Fund, which will support employees "most impacted by coronavirus."

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