Companies offering hiring incentives to lure workers amid COVID-19 state reopenings

A growing number of companies across the country are offering incentives to lure new employees.

The economy added just 266,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total came in well below expectations. Some economists have argued that a $300 weekly unemployment bonus included in COVID-19 relief measures may be contributing to hiring difficulties.

A surge in hiring is expected in the coming months though as more states reopen and small businesses such as bars and restaurants ramp up staffing efforts.

A record-high 44% of small business owners reported having job openings they could not fill in April, according to a monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The figure marked the third straight month that established a new record.

“The tight labor market is the biggest concern for small businesses who are competing with various factors such as supplemental unemployment benefits, childcare and in-person school restrictions, and the virus,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Many small business owners who are trying to hire are finding themselves unsuccessful and are having to delay the hiring or offer higher wages. Some owners are offering ‘show up’ bonuses for workers who agree to take the job and actually show up for work.”

Many businesses are offering special bonuses or perks in a bid to fill out their staffs. FOX Business breaks down some of the companies offering incentives below.

Amazon

While Amazon has faced criticism in some areas for conditions at its warehouses, the ecommerce giant recently said it would boost pay by up to $3 per hour beginning this month in a bid to lure more workers. The company hired 500,000 employees in 2020 and previously raised its minimum wage to $15.

Local bar, restaurants

As more cities and states loosen restrictions on bars and restaurants, many business owners are working hard to return to full staffing. 

In Chicago, restaurant chain One Off Hospitality began offering a $300 signing bonus, the Chicago Tribune reported. Restaurants in states such as Pennsylvania and Florida have implemented similar bonuses.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association has called on the state to use a portion of federal funding from the “American Rescue Plan” on hiring bonuses for new employees.

Jimmy John’s

Some of the sandwich store chain’s restaurant locations are offering signing bonuses to recruits, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Portillo’s Hot Dogs

The Illinois-based chain boosted wages for its staffers and began offering $250 bonuses to new hires, The Food Institute reported.

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Royal Farms

The Maryland-based convenience store chain said it is aiming to hire 4,500 new employees by the end of 2021. The company is offering a $500 signing bonus at some of its store locations, as well as a $300 referral bonus to active employees. Employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a $50 bonus.

Tops Friendly Markets

The northeastern grocery store chain is offering signing bonuses of up to $2,500 for positions at one of its warehouses.

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Wawa

The regional convenience store chain announced plans on May 3 to hire 5,000 full-time and part-time employees across its stores. The company is offering a $500 bonus to new hires in some positions through June 15, as well as a $300 incentive for employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.