Back in early May, Starbucks announced their plan to begin re-opening may of their storefronts in June. While some will open more fully, others will only be open for drive-thru, delivery and pick up services due to ongoing safety concerns. As Starbucks begins reopening stores, however, they're reportedly simultaneously cutting employees' hours and asking them to take unpaid leave.
According Yahoo Finance, Starbucks sales are currently down 35 to 40 percent from last year. Starbucks leadership does not expect these numbers to improve anytime soon, either. The Wall Street Journal reports that Starbucks predicts a return to normal sales in the fall at the earliest.
As a result of their falling sales, Starbucks has reportedly decided to reduce hours for their employes. According to Insider, Starbucks will give employees options on how to reduce those hours. Their options are reported to be "to quit, take a leave of absence, or continue working for the coffee giant—understanding that they may face reduced hours, due to stores' shortened hours and modified operations."
Starbucks Executive Vice President Rossann Williams wrote a letter to employees last week, which is available to read in full on Starbucks' blog, and blamed the falling sales on customer behavior amidst COVID-19. "Customer routines and occasions have changed, for all retailers," she explained.
Williams also wrote that, as a result of these changed behaviors, the coffee retailer would be instituting the 'COVID-19 Leave of Absence policy' in which employees "who prefer to take an unpaid leave through September 30 and accrue up to 20 hours per week toward benefits eligibility" are free to do so.
After being notified of this decision, some Starbucks workers shared frustration on social media. "How the f*** are we suppose to keep up and keep safe when we are all ran ragged from the increased workload," one employee wrote. "We have people here struggling to make ends meet and you've made it 10x worse by doing this," another added.
Starbucks has not yet addressed their employee's public pushback on their decision to cut hours.