DBI Helps Associates Navigate Pandemic

Posted on 5/5/2021 5:24:05 PM


As we move past the one-year anniversary of the start of the pandemic and the dramatic steps we took as a company to meet the challenges it presented, we reflect on our commitment to our associates.

2020 brought a global health crisis unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with far-reaching consequences for government and businesses. At the outset, Designer Brands vowed to make decisions with two priorities in mind: the health and safety of our associates and customers, and the health of our business.

This year many of our associates were challenged more than ever with balancing their work and personal lives, maintaining their personal and mental health, and even coordinating childcare. To honor their commitment to our business and our customers, we needed to recognize their efforts even as we faced a series of difficult business decisions.

We rolled out a series of benefits that directly impacted our workforce and supported them during this year, including:


  • In January 2020, we offered counseling and emotional support consisting of free 24/7/365 access to licensed counselors and work/life and bereavement specialists


  • In March 2020, we implemented an Emergency Pay Program for all associates who needed time off due to COVID-19. We provided 80 hours of paid time off for our full-time associates and 40 hours of paid time off for our part-time associates


  • In March 2020, we provided a $1.50/hr. hazard pay increase to our 300+ frontline distribution center workers for 9 weeks


  • In April 2020, we covered the cost of medical and dental benefits for furloughed associates, and maintained benefits coverage for the duration of an associate’s unpaid furlough


  • In July 2020, we paid a $250 (appx) field bonus to store associates


  • In October 2020, we provided a $1.50/hour increase for peak pay for our 190+ frontline Columbus DC workers for 9 weeks


  • In December 2020, we provided subsidized back-up childcare to over 1,800 full-time front-line associates working in our stores, distribution centers and customer service centers


  • In Jan 2021, we enhanced our Teladoc benefit to provide free virtual mental health services to all associates enrolled in the DBI medical plan


  • In Feb 2021, we extended the emergency pay program to all associates who need time off due to COVID. We provided 50 hours of paid time off for full-time associates and 20 hours of paid time off for part-time associates.


  • In March 2021, we provided an appreciation bonus of about $250 to more than 9,800 frontline workers in the U.S. and Canada, resulting in an investment of more than $2.3M


Prioritizing the health and safety of our associates, customers and communities, as well as the long-term success of the business, got us through the initial crisis when the pandemic first hit. And staying true to them has helped ensure that our associates can come back to work for an organization with an industry-leading position. We remain focused on our strategic pillars of differentiated products, differentiated experiences, and growing market share.

We are proud our associates, and our success is a direct result of their efforts. We’ll continue to support them as the pandemic finally slows and, in the days ahead.