- Apple has begun offering a $100 reimbursement to store employees working from home and a new mental health benefit.
- The benefits signal that Apple is continuing to invest in its retail workforce as its stores remain closed.
- The offerings also come as other major retail chains are resorting to layoffs and furloughs as nonessential businesses across the US remain closed.
- Apple Stores outside of China have been temporarily closed until further notice since the middle of March.
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As Apple begins asking some retail employees to work from home while stores remain closed, the company is offering workers reimbursements for purchasing work-from-home equipment and a new digital resource for managing stress, according to three current employees.
Taken together, the benefits signal that Apple is continuing to invest in its brick-and-mortar workforce as retail chains across the country are suffering and resorting to furloughs and layoffs to cut costs amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Apple is offering a $100 reimbursement for retail staff who need to purchase equipment like an office chair or desk, the people said. Apple may also offer reimbursements for those who need to upgrade their internet plan.
The tech giant also added a new wellness tool for retail employees in recent weeks through Sanvello, a digital service for managing stress and anxiety. It’s the latest mental wellness perk for Apple workers, as the company had already been offering access to the meditation app Ten Percent Happier.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the additional resources for workers.
Apple said on March 13 that it would temporarily close all retail stores outside of Greater China to protect employees and customers as the coronavirus pandemic spread. That was just before states across the country began issuing policies to close nonessential businesses.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a memo published on March 13 that all hourly employees will continue to receive normal pay, and Apple also recently said it intends to continue paying contract workers as well, as The Wall Street Journal reported.
It recently began asking retail staff to work from home to help manage the influx of customers seeking assistance with their devices, as Bloomberg first reported.
The move comes as the coronavirus pandemic has sent ripples through the retail, travel, and restaurant industries and has shaken the global economy as 90% of Americans are under orders to stay at home. Hundreds of thousands of retail workers are being furloughed or laid off at major chains like Macy’s, JCPenny, the Gap, and others. Companies hit hard by the pandemic, like Amtrak, La-Z-Boy, and Mattress Firm are cutting 401(k) contributions to save cash, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A record number of 6.64 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week that ended on Saturday, coming after the figure spiked to an unprecedented 3.28 million the previous week.
Apple has not yet said when it plans to reopen its retail stores, but a report from Bloomberg suggests stores will remain closed until May.
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