The Kroger Co. has earmarked $130 million for special Thank You Pay to hourly grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores.
The Thank You Pay bookends an Appreciation Pay first provided to frontline workers for their efforts at the start of the pandemic in March. It also follows multiple Hero Bonuses that were paid in April through mid-May, with a final payment by May 23.
The one-time Thank You Pay, which will be $400 for qualified full-time associates and $200 for qualified part-time associates, will be paid out in two installments on May 30 and June 18.
"Our associates have been instrumental in feeding America while also helping to flatten the curve during the initial phases of the pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. “To recognize and thank our associates for their incredible work during this historic time, we offered special pay in March, April and May.”
He continued,"As the country moves toward reopening, we will continue to safeguard our associates' health and well-being and recognize their work. At the same time, we will continue running a sustainable business that provides steady employment and opportunities to learn and grow for over half a million associates."
As part of its ongoing investment in associate and customer safety, Kroger also announced Friday that it will continue its COVID-19 Emergency Leave guidelines to provide paid time off to associates most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms.
"We want our associates to continue to feel supported in prioritizing their health," said Tim Massa, Kroger's senior vice president and chief people officer. "Our associates should only be working if they are healthy and symptom-free. By continuing paid emergency leave, our associates most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms should feel supported in staying home, promoting a safer environment to work and shop in."
The new Thank You Pay and extended paid COVID-19 Emergency Leave are in addition to the $700 million Kroger has invested since March to reward associates and safeguard associates, customers and communities.
Earlier this week, Kroger announced it had hired more than 100,000 workers over the past eight weeks, since coronavirus was declared a national emergency.
Kroger said Thursday the new employees — including displaced workers from hard-hit business sectors such as restaurants, hotels and food service distributors — have expanded its overall work force to more than 560,000 associates. The Cincinnati-based grocer noted that, during the COVID-19 outbreak, the extra hands have enabled the company to maintain safe access to fresh, affordable food and other staple items for customers of its 2,757 supermarkets in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
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