Several companies still paying Puerto Rico employees despite closed stores after hurricanes

PHOTO: A man stands inside a supermarket destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Sept. 29, 2017. PlayAlvin Baez/Reuters
WATCH Scale of Hurricane Maria damage in Puerto Rico shown in road-trip video

Some companies with locations in Puerto Rico, where hurricanes have caused unprecedented death and destruction and power is not yet restored in many areas, have continued paying their employees despite store closures.

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TJX, the parent company of T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls, J.C. Penney and Luxottica, the eyewear company behind Lenscrafters and Pearle Vision, have continued to pay employees based in Puerto Rico, even though some locations remain closed.

"We believe it is the right thing for us to do under these circumstances," TJX said in a statement to ABC News.

J.C.Penney continued paying employees, issuing cash paychecks while access to operable banks and ATMs were limited, J.C. Penney said in a statement to ABC News.

Nordstrom and Starbucks have also paid their employees while Puerto Rico locations have been closed in the wake of the hurricane destruction.

PHOTO: A TJ Maxx store stands in Louisville, Ky., on May 15, 2017. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A TJ Maxx store stands in Louisville, Ky., on May 15, 2017.

"We’re working to find opportunities to transfer employees who are interested in staying with the company and will offer some relocation assistance to any employee who needs it," Nordstrom said in a statement to ABC News.

Starbucks has started an employee assistance fund specifically for workers whose homes and families have been destroyed by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 20, destroying communities on the island after Hurricane Irma struck just a couple of weeks before.

A viral Facebook post under the hashtag “PuertoRicoStrong” highlighted some help that TJX provided their employees.

A father thanked the Marshalls parent company for continuing to pay his son even though the store where he worked has closed. He also wrote that the company gave his son supplies.

TJX did not disclose how many of its 29 locations in Puerto Rico have been closed.

PHOTO: People line up to fill gas cans after Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 21, 2017.Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Times via Redux
People line up to fill gas cans after Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 21, 2017.

Four of J.C.Penney's seven locations on the island remain closed and the company said employees of those stores are still being paid.

The company said it also delivered supplies, like water, food, and generators, for all 1,300 associates.

Nordstrom, the luxury department store chain, also paid Puerto Rico store associates after the devastation forced their one location on the island to close until further notice.

They company paid employees through Nov. 4th and then offered them a separation package. The employees had been receiving checks since the stores closed on Sept. 19th in anticipation of the storm, Nordstrom told ABC News in a statement. After the destruction, the company donated to relief efforts in addition to using its company employee relief fund.

PHOTO: Aluminum roofing is seen twisted and thrown off buildings as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near San Jose, Puerto Rico, Oct. 7, 2017.Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Aluminum roofing is seen twisted and thrown off buildings as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Maria near San Jose, Puerto Rico, Oct. 7, 2017.

The Nordstrom location will be closed until further notice because of hurricane damage.

Luxottica's eyewear brands have a sizable presence on the island -- 46 locations that include Oakley, Sunglass Hut, Lenscrafters, and Pearle Vision.

Despite thirty locations that remain closed, all 200 employees are being paid. Luxottica also started a Guardian Angel Fund to which company employees everywhere can make donations matched by the company, Luxottica told ABC News in a statement.

PHOTO: Kids bike in an area without grid power or running water about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on Oct. 5, 2017, in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Mario Tama/Getty Images
Kids bike in an area without grid power or running water about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on Oct. 5, 2017, in San Isidro, Puerto Rico.

Starbucks Corp. initiated a similar effort called the Starbucks Puerto Rico Tacita Verde Fund, along with Baristas del Cairbe, a Puerto Rican coffee company that is a subsidiary of Empressas Fonalledas Inc. that licenses Starbucks on the island.

The program is a new fund for employee assistance that provides financial grants to employees and their families who need urgent home repairs, food and medical help, among other critical needs, Starbucks said in a statement to ABC News.

All Starbucks employees received temporary disaster pay the first week. Employees from still-closed locations have been moved to stores that have reopened.

In the statement, Starbucks said that 18 of its 24 locations have reopened, but they are keeping hours flexible for employees' safety amid the loss of power supply on the island.

Puerto Rico’s goal is to restore electricity for half of the island by mid-November and for 95 percent by mid-December, according to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello.

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