Starbucks Baristas Get a Pay Raise and Permission to Show Off Tattoos

The coffee company announced an updated dress code, raises across the board and free snacks while working.

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By Kate Taylor • Oct 17, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Starbucks employees with tattoos can roll up their sleeves and wash off their cover-up – tattoos are now allowed at work.

A dress code update means employees are now allowed to show off visible tattoos while on the job, Starbucks announced on Thursday. Face and neck tattoos are still not allowed, but in an effort to nurture "self-expression, empowerment and inclusion," other tattoos okay, starting October 20. Color ties, neck scarves and black denim are now also allowed.

Employee tattoos has been a contentious issue at Starbucks for some time. A Coworker.org petition on the subject launched by Starbucks barista Kristie Williams in August gained over 25,000 signatures before the news broke that the policy would be updated.

"I am jumping up and down and am so excited that we can now be more comfortable at work!" Williams said in a statement addressing the dress code revamp. "I'm thrilled that Starbucks listened to feedback from employees like me and has updated its policy."

Related: Do You Let Employees Show Their Tattoos? Starbucks Doesn't - But That May Change.

Entrepreneurs are still divided on the best way to deal with tattoos at work. Almost a fourth of respondents on a recent Entrepreneur.com poll on the issue said that tattoos should be covered up, because they look unprofessional. However, most believed that tattoos should be allowed (38 percent) or addressed on a case by case basis (40 percent).

The right to bare tattoos is just one of the perks Starbucks announced on Thursday. In January, Starbucks will increase staring pay rates in all U.S. markets. All baristas and shift supervisors will also receive a pay increase in January. Employees additionally have the chance to choose one free snack per shift, signifying Starbucks' increased attention to food, an area Starbucks hopes to double business in the next five years.

The coffee chain also announced a contest called "Starbucks for Life," a chance for customers to win free coffee every day for the next 30 years.

Related: Starbucks Speeds Up Service at Express Stores, Ups Quality at Starbucks Reserves

Kate Taylor

Reporter

Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

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