Letter to partners: Caring for Starbucks partners during COVID-19

An open letter to Starbucks partners from Rossann Williams, evp and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada

Dear partners,

Since we first began navigating COVID-19, our goal has been to lead with partner care, transparency and decision-making based on facts and science. Our commitment is to always do what’s best for you, our customers and our communities. I know many of you are watching the news and wondering how this outbreak may impact our communities and our loved ones. I want you to know that your Starbucks family is here for you – today and always – and we want to make sure you are feeling completely supported with truly comprehensive partner care.

As you all know, we have already activated a set of temporary, precautionary measures in our stores to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and do what’s right for you and our customers. Over the last 10 days, we implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing, with an added labor investment so you don’t have to worry about the extra time it takes to do these tasks. We then moved swiftly to pause the use of personal cups, “for here” serve ware, and sampling. On Monday, we extended that to include cambros, as well as guidance on the use of gloves, how to order extra hand sanitizer, and how to best grind whole bean coffee that our customers bring in. We are taking courageous, proactive actions for you and our stores, informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health and food safety experts. I am so thankful for the teamwork you’ve demonstrated to implement these temporary changes so quickly.

As we navigate COVID-19 together, what matters most is how we, as a company, care for you. I want you to know that here at Starbucks, you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself. You have our full support when it comes to partner care, including access to catastrophe pay, benefits that support your physical and mental health, as well as a network of partners who are all here to help.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • We are temporarily expanding catastrophe pay for COVID-19 partner care. Any partner who has been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, or comes in close prolonged contact with someone in their store or household who has, is eligible for up to 14 days of catastrophe pay – whether or not they are showing symptoms – so they can self-isolate at home. You can use this catastrophe pay, and then use additional benefits like sick pay, vacation pay or personal time off as available. At the end of 14 days, if partners are still unable to return to work, additional pay replacement may be made up to 26 weeks.
  • If you have not had any known contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, but are showing symptoms, you should stay home until you are symptom-free for 24 hours. You can use our temporary, expanded catastrophe pay for any scheduled shifts over a three-day period, and then similarly use our additional benefits like sick pay, vacation pay or personal time off.
  • In addition, we know the CDC and some local health authorities have advised that certain individuals may consider taking extra precautions, for example, people who are 60 years and older, people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, people with weakened immune systems, and those who are pregnant. These partners, should they choose to self-isolate, are also eligible for up to 14 days of catastrophe pay with a doctor’s noted recommendation.

The CUP Fund is one more resource available to you. As you know, this fund was started by partners, for partners to use when facing an unexpected financial hardship. Since 1998, the CUP Fund has supported more than 28,000 partners. Every donation counts, so if you would like to help support a fellow partner who might be impacted by COVID-19, Starbucks is matching 50 cents for every dollar you give.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and since last year, we’ve talked about our commitment to ensuring you always have access to quality mental health care and resources. This may be a stressful time for some, and we need to lean on one another. Take this opportunity to check in with your partners and make sure they know about all our comprehensive partner care resources. In addition to the above, we offer an Employee Assistance Program, which offers free counseling support to all partners and their household members; Headspace, which can be a great resource for mindfulness and meditation; and your leaders and the Partner Resources Support Center (PRSC) at 888-SBUX-411, who are standing by ready to help support you and find the solution that works best for your situation. And remember, all of these resources are available for you too, because self-care is just as important during this unpredictable time.

The COVID-19 Working Groups continue to stay close to the CDC and public health authorities. Our protocols, for every possible scenario, as well as the proactive actions we are taking out of an abundance of caution, are all grounded in partner care, facts and science. I know, like me, you’d be very proud and thankful for their work. We are all truly in this together.

We’ve navigated many complex, ever-changing situations in our past, here in the U.S. and around the world, and every single time, we’ve emerged stronger because of our collective strength, resilience and compassion. To me, that is Our Mission and Values at their best – putting our partners, customers and communities first, and doing whatever it takes to support one another.

I am so proud to be your partner. If you need anything at all, just let us know. We are all here to help.

Warm regards,
Rossann