- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Starbucks will top off the paychecks of its baristas as part of a $250 million wages-and-benefits package stemming from the Trump tax cuts, the company announced Wednesday.

The decision makes Starbucks the latest of more than 100 U.S. corporations moving to share with their employees the windfall from legislation signed by President Trump in December that lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent as of Jan. 1.

More than 150,000 of the coffee retail giant’s U.S. “partners,” as it describes its full- and part-time employees, will receive in April “a second wage increase in addition to the annual increases that they have already received this fiscal year,” according to CEO Kevin Johnson.

In addition, Starbucks will provide an additional stock grant of $500 to each of its eligible retail partners and $2,000 to store managers, an award valued at $100 million, and expand its health-care benefits, changes he said were “due to the recent changes in the U.S. tax law.”

“At Starbucks, we have long understood that success is best when it is shared,” said Mr. Johnson in a letter to partners. “I hope these announcements illustrate the level of belief and trust we have in you to help us continue to grow our company and one another.”



Starting July 1, the company will allow its partners to accumulate paid sick time at a rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, and then use them to take paid time off when either they or a family member needs care.

Starbucks also expanded its parental-leave policy “to include all non-birth parents with up to six weeks of paid leave when welcoming a new child.”

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz criticized the Republican tax-reform bill in October, saying that lowering the corporate tax rate would be “a mistake” without overhauling the entire tax code because it would increase the national debt.

He also said in the interview with ABC News that the corporate tax cut “is not going to advance the economic issues of inequality in America.”

At the same time, Mr. Schultz insisted that the savings from any tax reduction should be shared with workers.

“I would hope that they would use it in ways that would advance their employees, the work that we need to do in our communities, and building a better society,” said Mr. Schultz. “That’s what I would be doing. There’s no doubt in my mind that’s what Starbucks would do.”

He added that Starbucks paid an effective tax rate of 34.3 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

Other major companies that have announced bonuses and wage increases in reaction to the tax cuts include Apple, AT&T, Boeing, Comcast, Wal-Mart and Verizon.

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