Human Interest Target Raises Minimum Wage to $15/Hour, Gives Bonus to Hourly Employees Working amid COVID-19 The company is also offering all employees free access to virtual doctor visits through the end of the year, regardless of their health care coverage By Joelle Goldstein Joelle Goldstein Twitter Joelle Goldstein is a TV Staff Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She has been with the brand for five years, beginning her time as a digital news writer, where she covered everything from entertainment news to crime stories and royal tours. Since then, she has worked as a writer-reporter on the Human Interest team and an associate editor on the TV team. In her current role, Joelle oversees all things TV and enjoys being able to say she has to watch The Kardashians, Dancing with the Stars and America's Got Talent for "work". Prior to joining PEOPLE, Joelle was employed at The Hollywood Reporter. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Television-Radio (and an appearance in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four!) People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 17, 2020 12:57 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Target. Target is showing its appreciation for its employees, many of whom were on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic, by introducing a number of new benefits and salary updates. On Wednesday, the company announced that it will permanently raise the minimum wage from $13 per hour to $15 per hour on July 5, and will provide a one-time recognition bonus of $200 to its store and distribution center hourly workers for working during the pandemic. "In the best of times, our team brings incredible energy and empathy to our work, and in harder times they bring those qualities plus extraordinary resilience and agility to keep Target on the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests and our business year after year," Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation Brian Cornell said in a statement. "Everything we aspire to do and be as a company builds on the central role our team members play in our strategy, their dedication to our purpose, and the connection they create with our guests and communities," Cornell added. Target. John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Target Stopping In-Store Returns, Plus More Changes Coming, as Coronavirus Continues to Spread The $2 pay raise — which had been a 2020 goal of the company's since September 2017 — was first implemented in March as the coronavirus pandemic was hitting the United States, according to the press release. However, at that time, the $15 per hour starting salary was only temporary. All hourly full-time and part-time employees working at Target's stores, distribution centers and headquarters will be eligible for the new minimum wage, which the company noted is more than 25 percent higher than the U.S. industry average. At the end of July, eligible full-time and part-time hourly workers will receive their $200 bonus. Those payments will come three months after Target last gave out $250-$1,500 bonuses to 20,000 hourly store employees who were overseeing individual store departments. In addition to the salary updates, the company said it was offering new medical benefits, including free access to virtual doctor visits through December 2020 for all employees, regardless of their health care coverage, so they "can conveniently and safely seek medical advice at a time of heightened focus on health and well-being." For vulnerable employees, including those who are older than 65, pregnant, or living with underlying medical conditions, an extension of a 30-day paid leave is being offered. RELATED VIDEO: Target Store Manager Delivers Epic Pep Talk A paid leave option for workers who have tested positive, been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will also be provided, along with a waived absenteeism policy. Additionally, Target said it will provide U.S. employees with free backup care for children and other family members through August, as well as free counseling sessions and anxiety or sleep resources to cope with the "strains both of COVID-19 and social unrest." According to the company, the new changes — including wages, benefits, personal protective equipment, and a $1 million donation to the Target Team Member Giving Fund — are a result of Target investing nearly $1 billion more in "the well-being, health, and safety of team members" than it did in 2019. "The most important investments we make are in our team. I have tremendous gratitude for the way our team members show up with such purpose and pride for our guests, communities, and one another," Melissa Kremer, Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer, said in a statement. "These investments help ensure that team members can build meaningful careers, take care of themselves and their families, and contribute to building our communities through their work inside and outside of Target," Kremer added.