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

Open letter to all Canadian store partners (employees) from Lori Digulla, president of Starbucks Canada

Dear partners,

Over the past three weeks we have found ourselves working and living through a quickly evolving health risk. Although this situation is new to many of us, what isn’t is our strong commitment to take care of each other and our communities both proactively and as individual needs arise. Our guiding principle from the beginning has been to lead with partner care, transparency, decision-making based in facts and science, combined with frequent communication to ensure every partner has the latest information.

Above all else, I want you to know your Starbucks family is here for you. This may not feel imminent for every part of Canada, but if or when it is, I want you to know about, and feel fully supported by, our comprehensive partner care during COVID-19.

We have already activated a set of temporary, precautionary measures in our stores to help limit the spread and do what’s right for you and our customers. Thank you for your leadership and accountability as you embraced and implemented these changes so quickly! Over the last 10 days we:

  • implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing tasks, with an added labor investment, so you don’t have to worry about the extra time it takes to do these tasks.
  • paused the use of personal cups, “for here” serve ware, sampling and use of cambros.
  • provided 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.

Even more importantly, if you or your loved ones are unfortunately impacted more directly, Starbucks is committed to provide comprehensive support for you because you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself. 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 an additional resource available to you beyond the above support, if you are experiencing financial hardship. You can find out more about this benefit by calling 888-SBUX-411.
  • Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. We offer an Employee Assistance Program, which offers free counseling support to all partners and their family members; a free Headspace app, which can be a great resource for mindfulness and meditation; and your leaders and the Partner Resources Support Center (PRSC) at 888-SBUX-411, are ready to help support you and find the solution that works best for your situation.

Our COVID-19 Working Groups will continue to stay close to the Public Health Agency of Canada, food safety experts and other public health authorities as we move through this together. The thoughtful protocols they have developed for every possible scenario are proactive in nature and grounded in partner care, facts and science. I am so very grateful for their incredible knowledge, leadership and dedication.

I can’t thank you enough for supporting the very important work to stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. And I want you to know that you are fully supported as we work through these ever-changing times.

Please let us know if there is anything you need. We are all here to help.

With gratitude,

Lori Digulla