Midwestern food and drug retailer Hy-Vee said it paid employees more than $167.2 million in bonuses and other benefits during 2020.
The West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain reported Monday that the total included 10% “appreciation bonuses” for hours worked during specific time frames “in a show of appreciation for long hours worked during COVID-19,” which resulted in $28.3 million shared in additional bonuses.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians also received incentive pay amid the coronavirus crisis, employee-owned Hy-Vee said. Those assisted with the retailer’s rapid antigen COVID-19 testing were paid bonuses of $250 to $500 for participating in the public health program.
In addition, on certain holidays, Hy-Vee retail employees earned an extra $1 to $2 per hour, with more than $2.2 million awarded in holiday pay.
Overall in 2020, Hy-Vee said it shared $68.7 million in bonuses to full-time employees and $6.5 million in bonuses to part-time employees.
“Our goal for 2020 was to build upon Hy-Vee’s current benefit offerings to bring better compensation, better services and better opportunities to our employees and their families,” Chairman, President and CEO Randy Edeker said in a statement. “As we start 2021, we will continue to bring more benefit offerings to our employees as we further our mission to be the best place to work in America.”
Hy-Vee noted that, over the past year, it has introduced a range of new and enhanced employee benefits under its “Best Place to Work in America” mantra.
For the company’s 88,000-plus employees, new employee benefits and perks launched in 2020 included a 10% employee discount on groceries, which totaled over $30.6 million in savings during the year; supplemental life insurance and health care plans (with an employee contribution) for eligible part-time workers; and tuition assistance of up to $10,500 annually for employees and their immediate family.
In an enhanced 401(k) plan, in which participating workers can become employee-owners via the company’s stock fund, Hy-Vee as of Sept. 28 increased the matching contribution to 50% for every dollar contributed, up to the first 7% of pay, and all active employees became 100% vested in current and future matching contributions. The retailer said it provided almost $29.9 million in matching contributions for 2020.
And in recognition of its 90th anniversary in 2020, Hy-Vee said it randomly gave out more than $1 million in prizes to employees companywide. Other benefits introduced during the year included free employee membership for Care.com, access to PerkSpot for special discounts, two weeks of paid parental leave, adoption reimbursement and fertility reimbursement.
Most recently, Hy-Vee in December launched free rapid antigen COVID-19 testing for its employees, as well as customers. The chain offers the rapid antigen testing at 47 Hy-Vee pharmacy locations through an outdoor drive-thru testing process.
Hy-Vee also has been expanding its workforce. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the company announced plans to hire more than 10,000 employees to fill positions chainwide in preparation for the holiday season rush, as well as to help with COVID-related changes in the shopping environment. And in early December the chain said it aimed to add 1,000 pharmacy technicians to expand coronavirus testing and ready for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Altogether, Hy-Vee operates more than 275 food and drug stores in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin and generates sales of $11 billion annually.