CVS to hire 50,000 workers, pay out bonuses as pandemic boosts demand
CVS Health is looking to hire 50,000 workers and plans to hand out bonuses to existing retail staff as it contends with a coronavirus-fueled surge in business, the company announced Monday in a news release.
America's largest pharmacy chain will distribute one-time payouts of $150 to $500 to pharmacists, "front line" health care professionals, store managers and associates, and "other site-based hourly employees," according to the release.
The 50,000 new jobs will include full-time, part-time and temporary roles as store clerks, delivery drivers, distribution center employees and customer service workers.
"Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they're needed most," Larry Merlo, CVS's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "As they continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we're taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times."
As the novel coronavirus continues to tank financial markets, some industries - especially airlines, manufacturing and hospitality - have hunkered down and begun preparing for layoffs. Many large retailers, including Macy's, Nordstrom and Apple have closed their bricks-and-mortar locations as consumers follow public health recommendations and "social distancing" protocols to stem the virus's spread.
But supermarkets, pharmacies and take-out restaurants are expanding staff and providing incentive pay to stay on top of surging demand.
Walmart on Friday said it would hire 150,000 hourly employees and hand out bonuses worth $150 for part-time workers and $300 for full-timers. The entire package will cost the company $545 million. Domino's Pizza said it needed to fill 10,000 jobs to deal with a spike in orders, while Amazon said it would expand its payroll by 100,000 people. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
CVS, like other retailers that provide such household essentials as toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products and medication, has struggled to keep shelves stocked since the outbreak hit U.S. shores. Consumers still need to pick up prescriptions unrelated to covid-19, though CVS has volunteered free prescription delivery during the crisis.
CVS also opened its first drive-through coronavirus test site last week at a Massachusetts store, and more are expected in the coming weeks. CVS, along with Walgreens and Target, said it would host mobile test sites during a meeting earlier this month with White House officials, but the sites so far only test first responders and health care professionals referred by a doctor.
CVS said it wants its new hires to come from clients that have laid off or furloughed workers, including Marriott and Hilton. It also will provide full- and part-time employees with a new benefit: 25 days of backup child or elder care.
The company has provided paid sick leave to full-time workers, but this week granted part-time employees 24 hours of paid leave for the duration of the pandemic, according to the release, in addition to 14 days of paid leave for any employee who tests positive for the virus or who must be quarantined because of exposure.