"For nearly 50 years, Starbucks has been a leader in providing relevant, industry-leading benefits and a total compensation approach that is best-in-class for both part and full-time employees," a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement. "Continuing in that tradition, this announcement is the next phase of its commitment to ensuring the well-being of partners with one of the most significant investments to hourly pay in the U.S. in the history of the company."
According to an internal memo, all baristas, supervisers and cafe attendants will receive an increase of at least 10%. Starbucks' partners with three years of continued service will also receive a pay bump of at least 11%.
In addition, all employee start rates will see an increase of at least 5%. The premium Starbucks pays above minimum wage in every market will also see an increase.
The raises will roll out across the United States by Dec. 14.
The new increase has been applauded by many Starbucks employees, who expressed their excitement on Twitter after being notified by managers earlier this month.
"Starbucks really handled the pandemic well and put employees first no matter the cost and we just heard what our raises are going to be today for 2021 and I'm ASTOUNDED and grateful for such an awesome company," one employee wrote. "To inspire and nurture the human spirit...absolutely. Woof."
However, some employees were more suspicious about the timing of the move, which comes after multiple petitions have circulated online demading the coffee chain raise starting pay to $15 per hour as employees have been forced to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have been continually working throughout the pandemic, but the pay is not a livable wage starting at $12 an hour. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many new rules/regulations and restraints implemented. We have new work every day, but we're not seeing a return for that work," one petition signed by more than 8,800 employees reads. "Employees deserve to feel they can handle their bills and what ever else they need while working full time at any job, but especially a company as large and profitable as Starbucks."
Increasing the minimum wage has been a hot topic in the restaurant industry. It has also caught the attention of President-elect Joe Biden, who has expressed interest in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, though the move would require Congressional approval.
The pay bump is the latest effort made by Starbucks to offer support and comprehensive care to its employees impacted by COVID-19.
In addition to existing benefits such as sick pay and personal time off, the company paid all partners catastrophe pay earlier this year through May 3, even if they chose to stay home due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. That benefit was then extended for partners who had been diagnosed or were exposed to COVID-19 through May 31 to allow them to stay home and self-isolate. Starbucks has also extended its COVID-19 leave of absence policy through March 2021, while allowing employees to keep existing benefits.
The company has also made hardship grants available to partners struggling financially through the company's CUP Fund and offered transfers to other locations for those impacted by adjusted hours of operation, modifications to operations, or temporary closures due to the pandemic.
Partners can also sign up for a new mental health benefit through Lyra Health and access the app Headspace for mindfulness and meditation. The company also temporarily expanded its Care@Work program to provide support for partners needing additional backup childcare options as a result of school closures, which now includes the option for partners to choose an individual or facility to assist their children with distance learning.
Meanwhile, non-retail employees at the Starbucks Support Center in Seattle have been instructed to work remotely through October 2021.