Levi Strauss & Co.
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Employee Support and Development

Helping employees be their best at any stage of life and career

LS&Co. has approximately 14,800 employees around the world. They are part of a unique global community that grows and shapes our brands through creativity, innovation and teamwork. Wherever they are in life or in their career, we want them to feel they can have an impact and that we are providing the support they and their families need to stay healthy, meet their financial goals, protect their income, and balance their work and personal lives. This past year emphasized just how important this is, but our commitment to our people predates the pandemic and will remain a priority long after it is contained.

Employee Well-being

Because people are critical to our success as a business, we aim to support our employees and communities in ways that promote their well-being and allow them to flourish. We’ve been a longstanding leader in key areas — decades ago, we were the first American company to provide benefits to same-sex partners. More recently, we extended paid sick leave to all part-time employees — and we continue to build on those foundations for a more diverse and equitable workplace.

Employee Well-being

Because people are critical to our success as a business, we aim to support our employees and communities in ways that promote their well-being and allow them to flourish. We’ve been a longstanding leader in key areas — decades ago, we were the first American company to provide benefits to same-sex partners. More recently, we extended paid sick leave to all part-time employees — and we continue to build on those foundations for a more diverse and equitable workplace.

Leading Benefits

While benefits vary by position, location, and eligibility, LS&Co. employees have access to competitive compensation, innovative well-being programs, and best-practice benefits. Depending on location, comprehensive benefits are generally available to full-time employees working in our offices, our retail stores and our distribution centers. In addition, all LS&Co. employees around the world, whether part-time or full-time, can take advantage of four important base benefits:

Health and Wellness for the Whole Self

We know that for employees to do their best work, they need support in their physical, financial, emotional and social well-being. Our holistic support program connects employees to information, resources, incentives and rewards through a range of avenues, starting with childcare and family support, WorkLife (our Employee Assistance Program), live wellth (our well-being program), performance coaching, and fitness discounts, among other benefits.

Paid Family Leave

In 2016, we amended our Paid Parental Leave program to offer eight weeks of paid leave for hourly and salaried LS&Co. employees, regardless of gender, at the time of a child’s birth, adoption, or entry into a family from foster care. In early 2020, we took another step, offering up to eight weeks of paid family leave to help ease the strain on U.S.-based employees caring for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition.

Since then, we have advocated for national paid leave policies so employees of other companies have access to support when illness or caregiving needs affect their family. More than one in 10 U.S. adults are caring for an aging parent or immediate family member at the same time they are raising their own children, according to a Pew Research Center study, so the need for paid leave policies is urgent.

This policy is an important part of our commitment to building a best-in-class workplace that supports well-being and enables our employees to take care of themselves and their family members in the moments they need it most. In May 2021, we expanded bereavement leave for our employees to two weeks. Bereavement eligibility now also includes pregnancy loss.

Safety Nets for Part-Time Retail Employees

While many U.S.-based companies provide safety net provisions to full-time employees, most part-time workers go without these benefits. That is not the case at LS&Co. In our company, part-time employees may participate in the 401(K) retirement savings program. To help employees save for the future, we match $1.25 for every $1 contributed by employees to our 401(K) up to the first 6% of each paycheck, as well as a 15% discount on LEVI shares through our Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

In May 2020, we extended paid sick leave to all U.S. part-time hourly retail employees — who make up the majority of our retail team members — making them eligible for paid sick time of up to two weeks based on their average hours worked. An investment in the future of our workforce and our business, this benefit will continue after the pandemic subsides because we never want employees to feel they have to choose between their health and their income.

Additionally, the Red Tab Foundation, our employee hardship assistance initiative, runs the Red Tab Savers program. Available to employees in the U.S. and Canada, the Savers program helps hourly LS&Co. employees build a short-term emergency fund and a habit of savings. The 6-month matched savings program allows employees to build a safety net and receive a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $260, from the Red Tab Foundation. The program also provides financial literacy support to help employees get started. In 2020, 620 frontline retail and distribution center employees participated, collectively saving more than $280,000 of their own funds, with the Red Tab Foundation contributing more than $72,800 in matching rewards.

Recognizing Excellence and Dedication

When employees truly go above and beyond, we recognize their contributions through several awards:

In 2020, dedicated frontline employees in our owned-and-operated factories, distribution centers, and retail stores helped reopen after mandatory closures, adopted new health and safety measures, and worked tirelessly to serve customers and the business. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, our retail teams learned entirely new skillsets to deliver the best possible experience to consumers.

In early 2021, we honored them, about 12,000 frontline employees, including those newly hired during 2020, with the Impact Award and a financial bonus. It was an expression of our gratitude for those who safely addressed customer needs under extraordinary circumstances.

Support During COVID-19

The pandemic presented a significant challenge for LS&Co. employees worldwide. From the outset, we prioritized the safety and well-being of our people, launching a suite of initiatives in our offices and stores designed to support physical, psychological, and financial well-being.

Thousands of our retail, distribution center and manufacturing employees were on the front lines during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We updated and adapted our policies to ensure that their working environment was as safe as it could be and that we were following all applicable health guidelines — or exceeding them in circumstances where we believed they did not go far enough.

Due to business disruptions and prolonged store closures, we did have to furlough some retail employees. In those instances, we provided regular pay for several months, continued offering benefits and invited employees back as stores reopened. Around the world, we worked through a network of state and LS&Co. supplemental pay programs to take care of employees while stores were closed. In addition, the Red Tab Foundation implemented a no-interest loan program to help U.S. employees bridge the gap before unemployment payments arrived, issuing more than $100,000 in loans this way.

Once stores were able to re-open, we adapted store policies to prioritize the safety of our staff and consumers alike, and we continue to adapt our retail and distribution center practices to support the well-being of workers.

Health and Wellness

The COVID-19 pandemic demanded a lot of employees, so we expanded our wellness and mental health programs to support resiliency and well-being in all areas of life. We made it easier to access the suite of integrated WorkLife well-being benefits, adding 24/7/365 access to a personal coach, offering enhanced mental health benefits, and connecting employees with the Thrive Global app to support mental, physical, financial, family and social well-being. Our partnership with Thrive will continue beyond the pandemic.

We also added access to Talkspace, a digital platform offering an alternative to face-to-face therapy with a licensed behavioral health clinician, providing greater flexibility to improve health. And we offered a new program, Grief Warrior, to help employees and teams process grief through guidance, workshops and training. We expanded the program in 2021 to provide more support to global regions being deeply impacted by the pandemic.

In addition to our existing live wellth program, which offers opportunities to complete well-being-related activities to earn incentives throughout the year, we began offering new workshops on yoga, Pilates, and dealing with isolation — provided around the world in local languages. We also implemented a no-meeting-Friday policy for corporate employees and provided them with the last Friday off each month to encourage self-care and time with loved ones.

To help parents juggling remote work and parenting during the pandemic, we upgraded our childcare and parent support benefits and made them available to full-time retail employees. The new benefit includes support with childcare and eldercare, access to a network of 6 million live and virtual caregivers, full-time nanny placement services, an online curriculum of classes and parent support webinars and tutoring services.

Specialized Resources and Training

New training initiatives offered more help getting set up to work at home, while a host of other resources provided tips and tools for everything from ergonomics and remote work technology to managing isolation and working from home with the whole family. We earmarked $1.2 million to make sure those working remotely had additional IT equipment they might need, such as a monitor or printer. The Learning to Flex newsletter connected employees to a wide variety of new resources via email, the intranet, live panels and virtual instructor-led training and webinars.

Manager Training

Training for managers in 2020 focused on supporting team members through frequent check-ins, empathy and flexibility. Other new resources included a Manager Reset workshop that was attended by 88% of managers, and courses on Starting New Hires Virtually​ and Managing Remote Teams. We also conducted a specialized 10-week training for U.S. retail managers, U.S. wholesale managers, and district and store managers from Canada and Mexico on topics such as leading through change, thriving in the new normal, inclusive leadership, race and wellness, and physically distanced customer service.

Employees Helping Employees

As the COVID-19 pandemic affects people around the globe, the role of hardship funds has never been more critical. Widely considered to be the first corporate employee-funded hardship fund, the Red Tab Foundation is a public, nonprofit foundation that assists LS&Co. employees, retirees and their families during times of unexpected financial hardship. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Tab Foundation served a valuable connecting point between employee giving and employee grants, disbursing more than $720,000 in COVID-specific hardship relief.

Assistance to Departing Employees

The impact of the pandemic, coupled with a restructuring initiative, resulted in workforce reductions occurring in 2020 and 2021. These difficult steps were necessary to provide us with a path forward to be the strongest possible business and employer over the long term. In all instances, we sought to treat our employees with empathy and respect, providing additional support where possible. Most departing employees received severance packages and were allowed to retain company-issued computers and phones. Most remained eligible for Red Tab Foundation support and our Employee Assistance Program for an additional year.

Read more about how we supported departing employees.

What’s Next – Employee Support and Development

Many of the programs initiated during the pandemic — paid sick leave for part-time retail employees, for example, or participation in the Grief Warrior program — will continue going forward, even when the pandemic threat recedes. Much about work has changed over the past year, and we have additional opportunities to support employees so they can be their best selves and do their best work.

We will also continue to make sure employees know they have a voice in our company, whether through the regular town halls during which anyone can ask questions of our CEO, or through our growing number of employee resource groups. And we will resume a regular cadence of employee surveys to learn more about our employees’ experiences and continue refining or adding new programs to support holistic well-being.