The largest US bank by assets has pledged to pay a $1000 bonus to its workers who are staffing branches and call centres through the coronavirus pandemic.

After closing 1,000 of its roughly 5,000 branches this week, JPMorgan Chase has decided to reward its front-line employees for their efforts amid the flu-like pandemic. Employees will get the one-time payment in two $500 instalments to be paid out in April and May.

All 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.

Sweeteners for coronavirus warriors

The perk is part of a larger effort by the bank to recompense employees having to deal with the “unprecedented” challenge posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

The bank is also giving all employees up to five new paid days away from work. In addition, it will allow all staff members to carry over unused vacation time from 2019 until June. The latter is to “help employees manage childcare/dependent care and temporary disruption of service issues during this difficult period.”

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By GlobalData

The company has also relaxed the dress code for employees of the community and consumer bank who do not work in branches, such as call centre employees.

A Dual challenge

The move comes as banks struggle to remain open for customers who need cash and other banking services. The banks also have to keep employees satisfied as many are asked to keep working as usual, despite a calamitous global pandemic.

Last 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 fast-spreading virus.