Next week, The Kroger Co. plans to pay a one-time bonus to all hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associates for their extra efforts as the nation grapples with the coronavirus crisis.
The Cincinnati-based supermarket giant also has expanded its COVID-19 emergency leave guidelines.
Kroger said Saturday that it will pay $300 to full-time associates and $150 to part-time associates on April 3. Frontline workers hired on or before March 1 will be eligible for the payment, which covers the March 8 to 28 payroll period.
“Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic,” Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement. “Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers. I am incredibly grateful for all they are doing. The true heroes in this story are our associates, and we want to provide them with additional resources and support to help them continue their remarkable effort.
“In every decision we make, we strive to balance our most urgent mission — to be here for our communities when they need us most — with ensuring the safety of our associates, customers and communities,” McMullen added.
Under the updated coronavirus emergency leave policy, Kroger is enabling employees to include paid time off for COVID-19 self-isolation and symptoms verified by an accredited health care professional.
The move expands earlier guidelines, announced on March 14, that allowed paid time off for associates who are diagnosed with or placed under quarantine because of COVID-19. In both scenarios, all associates will be eligible to receive their standard pay for up to two weeks (14 days).
“We believe that by expanding our emergency leave guidelines, more of our associates can feel certain knowing that if their health is affected by or if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, they will be supported while they stay at home and recover,” stated Tim Massa, senior vice president and chief people officer at Kroger. “We are appreciative of all of our managers who have been working individually with associates in recognition that every associate’s situation is personal. We also want to make it easier for associates to follow our guidance to stay home if they feel sick and to do our part to flatten the curve.”
For employees impacted by coronavirus, Kroger also is providing additional resources via the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund. Affected associates can receive financial assistance for hardships due to COVID-19, including lack of access to child care and for those considered higher risk, the company said.
Through its 20 regional/retail divisions in 35 states, The Kroger Co. operates about 2,760 food stores under such banners as Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market, Mariano’s, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less and Foods Co.
“We have incredible teams working around the clock to take care of our customers, stock our stores and provide our communities with much needed supplies during the current pandemic,” commented Joe Kelley, president of Kroger Houston. “Their health and safety is of the utmost importance, and we will do everything we can to support our people on the frontlines.”
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