Citing the indeterminate amount of time the coronavirus crisis may endure, San Antonio-based H-E-B announced Tuesday that it would be transitioning from its temporary $2 per hour pay raises to long-term permanent investments in its associates.
The retailer, which operates 340 stores throughout Texas, said in a statement, “As we work to find our new normal during this unprecedented time, H-E-B will transition from our temporary Texas Proud Pay program, which ended June 21, and move, on June 22, into different long-term, permanent investments in our people, which include accelerated and enhanced pay increases for store, manufacturing and supply chain hourly non-management partners.”
According to the company, this will be the largest investment in pay in the history of H-E-B. Additionally, H-E-B will continue its ongoing investments in pay and other perks and benefits for all partners across the company, the retailer said.
While no financial details of the new plan were released, H-E-B said that the pay increases would be worth more than twice the amount of the temporary program for the average employee.
In March, H-E-B raised wages by $2 per hour for all hourly store, manufacturing, warehouse and transportation employees. The initiative was a way to "thank them for their commitment" during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said at the time. The program was extended in April and May, before ending on June 22.
In addition to the permanent pay raises, H-E-B has extended medical leave to all associates and in the event that an associate is diagnosed with coronavirus, they will receive pay. “Our robust emergency preparedness plan focuses on what we do best, serving our customers while prioritizing the wellness of our partners and their families,” the company said.
Texas has seen a dramatic upsurge in COVID-19 infections this month, with the Texas Department of State Health Services reporting 5,489 new cases on Tuesday, a record high for the state. Texas now has more than 120,000 recorded cases.
In addition to its already strict sanitation and hygiene protocols, H-E-B has taken “extreme measures” to heighten the frequency and awareness of sanitation and hygiene in its stores. H-E-B has trained COVID-19 action managers in stores and facilities to ensure sanitation and proper social distancing protocols are followed, including handwashing as often as possible for associates and hand sanitizer available for customers and partners. Stores are deep cleaned every day and partners are given daily training and education on elevated sanitation protocols. All partners and vendors in customer-facing and close-contact roles are required to wear masks while at work.
“Social distancing, wearing masks, proper hand washing and sanitization are all things we do to help keep Texans healthy,” H-E-B said in its statement. “Our partners stand committed to helping Texas slow the spread.”
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.