JPMorgan Chase to pay 'front-line' workers $1,000 bonus: memo

FILE PHOTO: The entrance to JPMorgan Chase's international headquarters on Park Avenue is seen in New York October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N said Friday it would give "front line employees," workers who are staffing branches and call centers through the coronavirus pandemic, a sweetener for their efforts: a one-time $1,000 bonus.

The largest U.S. bank by assets, which closed 1,000 of its roughly 5,000 branches this week, said full- and part-time staff who have to do their jobs from an office or branch, and who make less than $60,000 a year or are based at a consumer banking branch, are eligible to receive the payments, according to a memo sent by the bank’s operating committee.

The move comes as banks struggle to meet the dual demands of remaining open for customers who need cash and other banking services and keeping employees satisfied as many are asked to keep working as usual, despite the frightening global pandemic.

Earlier this week, JPMorgan announced it was closing about 20% of its U.S. branches, as it worked to reduce its staff’s possible exposure to the flu-like virus.

The bank also tried to make going into the office a bit more palatable by relaxing the dress code for employees of the community and consumer bank who do not work in branches, such as call center employees.

The bank is also giving all employees up to five new paid days away from work, as well as allowing people to carry over unused vacation time from 2019 until June, as a way to “help employees manage childcare/dependent care and temporary disruption of service issues during this difficult period,” according to the memo.

Employees will get the one-time payment announced on Friday in two, $500 installments to be paid out in April and May.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Steve Orlofsky