To ease the burden of the impact of COVID-19, Citi Singapore has committed to give some 1,600 of its employees a total of S$2mn in a one-off special compensation award.

Employees who earn an annual base salary of S$70,000 or less are eligible for this award and will receive the one-off compensation of S$1,200, which will be credited into their Citibank accounts this month.

The bank announced today in a press release that this is part of a global initiative that recognises the potential economic hardship that its employees may encounter during the current crisis and aims to help those who are most likely to be impacted.

Globally, more than 75,000 of Citi’s employees will be benefitting from the special compensation award.

For instance, in the U.S., an award of US$1,000 will be provided to eligible colleagues who make US$60,000 or less in base salary.

Salary thresholds for eligibility and the amount for the individual award are dependent on each market. The thresholds apply irrespective of performance, grade or business unit but only employees directly hired by Citi qualify for the award.

In Singapore, other benefits Citi has extended to all employees include:

  • Complimentary insurance coverage
    In partnership with AIA, all Citi Singapore employees and their eligible dependents have been insured under COVID-19 Special Coverage since mid-March. This free insurance coverage allows our employees and their dependents to enjoy guaranteed hospitalisation income and death benefits up till June 30, 2020, or 30 days after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level becomes Green, whichever is earlier.
  • Preferred corporate rate for Medical Teleconsultation services
    Citi Singapore employees and their eligible dependents pay a preferred rate for online medical consultation at Whitecoat, a digital healthcare provider.
  • Extension of utilisation of carryover leave
    In a typical year, employees are allowed to carry over 7 days of their leave entitlement to 31 March the next year. In view of the current COVID-19 situation, Citi Singapore has extended the deadline for the utilisation of carryover leave to 31 December 2020 on the back of travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 which have prevented employees from taking time off for overseas vacations.
  • Refund of season parking charges
    As a result of the COVID-19 situation, more of our employees are working from home and are not utilising the carpark facilities where the bank’s main offices are located (Asia Square and Changi Business Park). In collaboration with the landlords of these buildings, we have arranged a refund to employees who are season parking ticket holders at these locations for April and May 2020.

In announcing these benefits, Head of ASEAN and Citi Country Officer for Singapore Amol Gupte said: "These are difficult and challenging times for everyone. Amid the pandemic, many of my Citi colleagues are working around the clock to deliver our services and solutions to support our clients in managing the uncertainties. I am proud and appreciative of all their efforts and hope that these extra benefits will help lighten their financial burden and enable them to better navigate the crisis."

Citi also recognises the impact of the COVID-19 situation on its retail, SME, corporate and institutional clients and has rolled out a host of measures across Asia Pacific and Singapore since the start of the crisis such as interest and fees waivers, tenure extensions, alternative settlement arrangements, option to restructure borrowing and trade credit facilities, extension of liquidity, and loan payment reduction programmes among others.


Starbucks commits US$10mn to the Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Program

In other related news, Starbucks yesterday announced a commitment of $10 million (USD) to establish the Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Programme.

The programme is part of its ongoing efforts to support partners (employees) around the world impacted by COVID-19.

This marks the first time both company-operated and international licensed market store partners across Starbucks may access hardship grants. These one-time, direct relief grants will be made available to partners facing extreme hardship as a result of COVID-19 and help ensure that partners around the world have access to emergency support during this difficult time.

Support from the Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Programme will be made available to retail partners in licensed store markets through the Emergency Assistance Foundation, to partners in company-operated markets through the established Caring Unites Partners (CUP) Fund, and to partners in Europe through the Starbucks EMEA Partner Relief Fund, a new fund established for European company-operated markets including the U.K., Austria, Switzerland, as well as the company’s Roastery in Italy and roasting plant in the Netherlands.

Lucy Helm, chief partner officer, Starbucks Coffee Company, said: "As we navigate this global crisis, we never lose sight of the wellbeing of our partners, who are the heartbeat of this company."

“During this very difficult time, we believe it is our responsibility to create additional support for partners facing unexpected financial hardship wherever they are. We are proud to be a catalyst for a first-of-its-kind global funding initiative to further demonstrate to our Starbucks partners that we are in this together,” she added.

Starbucks US$10mn commitment to the Global Partner Emergency Relief Program will support the existing CUP Fund as well as the new Starbucks EMEA Partner Relief Fund and create a pathway for international licensed markets to set up their own funds with Starbucks contributing an initial investment, a first for the company.

As each community faces unique response and recovery challenges, the new funds will be processed through the Emergency Assistance Foundation and enable licensed store operators in international markets to join Starbucks in providing support for partners in disaster designated areas, who are immediately eligible to apply for assistance.

Qualified categories for fund grants include, but are not limited to, housing and utilities, sudden loss of home, death of a family member or partner, and related funeral expenses.

“Our goal at the Emergency Assistance Foundation (EAF) is to help individuals financially during times of disaster and hardship,” said Doug Stockham, President, EAF. “People around the globe are affected by COVID-19, and we pride ourselves on being the financial first responders. We are pleased to partner with Starbucks and look forward to making an impact together.”

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