Wynn Resorts, Starbucks and other companies stepping up to help their workers impacted by coronavirus

Zack Guzman
Senior Writer

As more and more companies see business slowing due to shutdowns caused by coronavirus containment efforts many are resorting to furloughing or even firing employees as evidenced by Friday’s latest jobs report.

For the month of March, 701,000 jobs were lost, marking the first time since September 2010 that more jobs were cut than added on a monthly basis.

To alleviate the slowdown, lost hours, or other hardships being felt by employees some companies have been stepping up to make sure their workers are taken care of.

Here are some of the latest examples we’ve seen from major employers across the country:

Wynn Resorts

Wynn & Encore Las Vegas Resorts along the Las Vegas Strip first announced closures in March before extending its timeline into May. (Credit: Damairs Carter/MediaPunch /IPX)

When Wynn Resorts announced it would be temporarily closing its Las Vegas and Boston properties on March 15, the company promised its full-time employees full pay for the initial two-week timeline.

This week, competing casino operators announced job cuts and furloughs, headlined by Caesars Entertainment’s move to furlough 90% of its employees, providing full pay for two weeks and covering 100% of health premiums for enrolled workers through June 30.

Wynn Resorts, also extending its shutdown, went a little further. The company announced it would be extending full pay for its 15,000 full-time employees through May 15, and also said it would cover the “average tip compliance rate” or distributed tips for tipped employees left without that income.

"It is our shared responsibility to follow the direction of health and safety professionals to stay home, and limit social contact," Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said in a statement provided to Yahoo Finance. "We owe it to each other, our families and to our community."

Starbucks

A Starbucks barista hands a drink order out of the drive-thru window in Willits Town Center on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times via AP)

Coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX) also announced this week it would be supporting its workers with new initiatives.

The company said it’s extending temporary COVID-19 benefits for its U.S. employees, including higher hourly wages for those working and catastrophe pay for those who choose not to work or can’t work, until May 3. Employees choosing to work will receive an additional $3 per hour worked.

“We feel these are important benefits to extend at this time, so whether you are taking care of a loved one, responsibly self-isolating, or choosing to stay at home for any reason, you can have the confidence that you do not have to choose between coming to work and your personal well-being during this crisis,” Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada, wrote in a letter seen by Yahoo Finance.

Waste Management

Waste Management CEO Jim Fish (not pictured) backstopped his employees hours. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Facing uncertain times, Waste Management (WM) CEO Jim Fish wanted to remove any doubts his employees had about income.

Fish told Yahoo Finance he has indefinitely guaranteed 40-hour workweek pay for his 45,000 employees without a single layoff.

“When I took the job back in 2016, one thing I said is we aren’t going to do any layoffs. And now it’s more important than ever. We have certainly protected the financial security of our 45,000 employees,” Fish said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Major League Baseball

When sports leagues including the NBA, the XFL, and MLB announced that they would be impacted by the coronavirus shutdowns it was not immediately clear what was going to happen to the stadium workers that depend on games being played for paychecks.

The MLB quickly shored up all doubts earlier in March by announcing that while opening day would be delayed, each team would be contributing $1 million each to be directed to ballpark employees.

“I have been approached by representatives of all 30 clubs to help assist the thousands of ballpark employees affected by the delay in the start of the Major League Baseball season,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Motivated by a desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community, each Club has committed $1 million. The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities.”

Since then, teams like the San Francisco Giants have added to their own funds for employees. Giants owners and executives contributed an additional $700,000 to assist approximately 2,600 workers who regularly staff Oracle Park during games and events.

Verizon

As a company operating “essential tasks” to keep people connected, Verizon (VZ) announced it would be boosting pay for service employees unable to work from home. The company said it would be boosting pay for such employees.

“The company’s eligible network, logistics and real estate employees, including field technicians, will receive an enhancement on top of their regular base wages,” a company memo stated. Verizon also boosted sick leave for employees contracting the virus up to a total of 26 weeks in paid time off.

Yahoo Finance is a subsidiary of Verizon Media.

Yum! Brands

Quick service restaurants have largely been reduced to delivery outposts as state orders prevent many from dining in. For Yum! Brands (YUM), the parent company of Taco Bell and KFC, that has meant some store closures.

To help, the company announced it will pay employees at company-owned locations who are required to stay at home for their scheduled or regularly scheduled hours during their time away from work. CEO David Gibbs also said he would be donating his nearly $1 million salary to fund one-time $1,000 bonuses for his company’s 1,200 general managers and to set up a medical relief fund for impacted employees.

Are there more corporate efforts we should include? Let us know!

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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