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Leaked email reveals that Glossier has continued to pay its retail employees through the shutdown, but hints at threat of layoffs at the end of May

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  • Glossier has continued to compensate its retail employees despite its stores being closed since mid-March, a leaked email obtained by Business Insider reveals.
  • According to the email, Glossier will keep store workers on the payroll through the end of May, but if stores remain closed beyond then, the company hinted they may have to cut workers off. 
  • "If we expect our stores to remain closed past May, I want to be candid that we don't know that we'll be able to extend compensation beyond May 31st," the email, sent by Glossier's head of retail experience Hadas Drutman, said on April 17. 
  • Three current store employees told Business Insider that they haven't heard from the company since the April email, and were growing increasingly anxious because of the lack of communication from the company in recent weeks
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When Glossier shuttered its retail locations on March 13 because of the spread of coronavirus through the US, founder and CEO Emily Weiss said that all Glossier store employees would be compensated for lost shifts during what she then deemed was only a temporary two-week closure.
Two months later, retail has been ravaged by the pandemic and it is unclear when stores will reopen in many parts of the country — forcing Glossier's retail employees to confront an uncertain future and the risk of losing their jobs.
While Glossier has continued to pay its retail employees since the store closures, the company is unlikely to pay them beyond May, a leaked email obtained by Business Insider reveals.
According to the email, Glossier does not foresee reopening its stores in May, and plans to pay its store associates for their regular weekly hours through May 31. The company said that it was able to pay its store workers in part because it has "cut spend in other areas" of the business. However, the company also said in the email that it would be reassessing the situation post May.
"Our hope is that in a few weeks, we'll have a better sense of the timeline around reopening our stores, which will help us make the next decision — but as we've seen so far, this environment is very uncertain and therefore difficult for anyone to predict," the email says. "If we expect our stores to remain closed past May, I want to be candid that we don't know that we'll be able to extend compensation beyond May 31st."
The email, sent by Glossier's head of retail experience Hadas Drutman on April 17, was the last form of communication from the company in recent weeks, five current and former employees confirmed to Business Insider, saying that current retail employees hadn't heard from the company since.
US retail sales in April plunged 16.4% according to a report from the commerce department, and other makeup retailers like Sephora have already had mass layoffs. In such an environment, current Glossier employees said that they were grateful that they hadn't been furloughed or laid off and had benefits including health insurance.
"I know that we're very lucky to not have been laid off," said one current employee, who requested anonymity because employees are not authorized to speak publicly about the company. "I have heard horror stories about how Sephora mass-laid off their employees, which was really nerve-wracking."
Further, Glossier has been finding new ways to mitigate the impact of the fallout from the pandemic on its business, employees said. The company recently trialed "Live Edit," through which it held virtual makeup consultations with 150 participants each getting 15 minutes with a company rep, akin to what customers would have in-store. That program went through its second iteration last week with 300 open slots, current employees said.
"They seem to be trying to figure out ways to let us keep our jobs," another current employee said.
But current employees said they were growing increasingly anxious due to the lack of communication from the company in recent weeks.
"We're really not sure what's gonna happen," one current employee said. "There's a lot of uncertainty right now."
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