Amid the coronavirus crisis, Best Buy will put roughly 51,000 domestic hourly store staffers, with the inclusion of almost all part-time employees, on temporary leave starting April 19. The electronics retailer is keeping about 82 percent of its full-time store and field staffers on its payroll, while furloughed staffers will keep their health benefits for at least three months, according to an announcement.
Corie Barry, the company’s chief executive, will forgo half of her base salary, and members of the board of directors will forgo half of their cash retainer fees. Executives who report directly to the CEO will take a 20 percent cut in base salary. These reductions will be effective through at least Sept. 1. In addition, select corporate staffers are having voluntarily reduced workweeks and pay in addition to voluntary furloughs.
Best Buy said it made the decision in the early days of the health crisis that its staffers would not have to work if they did not feel comfortable doing so, and that they should remain in their residences if they don’t feel well, while still receiving pay. It also noted that all field and retail staffers whose hours were removed when the company moved to curbside service would be paid for their usually scheduled hours up to April 18.
Barry said in the announcement, “The situation remains very fluid and there is still a great deal of uncertainty, particularly as it relates to [the] depth and duration of store closures and consumer confidence over time. We are taking the steps necessary to resume providing our customers [with] in-home services in the near future, keeping in mind our overriding priority on the safety of our employees and customers.”
The demand for home office equipment has escalated as more people are working from home, with Best Buy moving to curbside pickup only at all of its retail locations. eCommerce orders will be sent directly to consumers’ residences, but no in-home installations or repairs will take place.