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Lowe's will be raising its hourly wages $2 for employees working at contact centers and supply chain facilities along with expanding paid sick leave for all workers in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
"We are continually working on ways to protect and support our associates and our customers during this time when we are all adjusting how we work and live," Marvin Ellison, Lowe's president and CEO, said in a statement Thursday.
"I'm announcing these new operational changes as we continue to keep the health and well-being of our associates and customers top of mind, especially as they look to us now more than ever for essential products, services and support. Today's wage increase for our hourly associates is just another way I want to thank our 300,000 associates for their heroic actions in serving the needs of our communities. I've never been prouder of our team, and they have my commitment that we will continue to adjust as the situation evolves."
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Last week Ellison announced that the home improvement retailer will be hiring 30,000 employees in response to a drastic growth in demand. The company will also be donating, rather than selling, all of its N95 medical masks to hospitals to protect frontline health care workers, along with other personal protective equipment to first responders.
Lowe's also disclosed Thursday expanded paid leave benefits for all of its workers. It will offer 14 days of emergency paid leave for all employees "who need it," including workers who are caring for a loved one or lack child care for their kids due to closed schools and day cares.
The company will also offer four weeks of paid leave to those who get sick and suffer severe symptoms of the virus and expanded telemedicine benefits for all employees through Teladoc, regardless of if they are enrolled in company benefits or health care plans.
As an additional perk, it also dished out $80 million of "special payments" to hourly associates on March 31. The payment given as a token of appreciation for their "tireless efforts" during the COVID-19 pandemic will be $300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time workers.
Beyond hiring more staff and expanding pay and benefits, Lowe's announced March 20 it will donate $10 million in personal protective equipment to hospitals as part of a $25 million donation to help communities hit hardest by COVID-19 across the U.S. and Canada.