Starbucks is giving baristas paid sick leave and stock bonuses

Inside the first ever Starbucks store
Inside the first ever Starbucks store

For the first time in its history, Starbucks is giving all of its baristas sick leave.

A part-time employee working 23 hours a week will get 5 days of sick leave over the course of the year starting July 1, the company said.

Starbucks is also giving baristas $500 in stock grants (store managers get $2000). Employees will now get paid parental leave for up to six weeks, including if they are not the birth parent.

In addition, Starbucks is boosting hourly and salaried employees' pay starting in April.

Starbucks pays above the $7.25 federal minimum wage across the country, but employees' wages vary state-by-state. Starbucks did not disclose how much wages would rise.

The company said it is spending $250 million on the benefits for its 150,000 U.S. employees.

Since 1988, Starbucks (SBUX) has offered healthcare to all full-time and part-time employees. The company also covers tuition for an online bachelor's degree.

"We have long understood that success is best when it is shared," CEO Kevin Johnson said in a letter to employees.

Related: Starbucks to add 240,000 jobs worldwide by 2021

Starbucks said it accelerated its wages and benefits package because of the recent tax overhaul. The company has not announced yet how much it expects to save under the law, which lowers the corporate rate from 35% to 21%. Starbucks paid a 33% effective rate in 2017.

Starbucks joins a growing list of American companies that have rewarded workers with wage increases and bonuses.

Related: Some of the companies giving out raises and bonuses because of tax reform

On Tuesday, Verizon (VZ) said it was giving employees stock grants. Disney (DIS) announced $1,000 bonuses for employees.

The economy is doing well and unemployment is at a low 4.1%. Economists say the tight labor market pressures companies to raise wages and expand benefits to retain employees and fill open positions.

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