Kroger announces $130M ‘Thank You Pay’ for associates, continues paid emergency leave

Coronavirus

(AP News) – The Kroger Co. announced Friday that it will provide a special Thank You Pay to hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores.

“Our associates have been instrumental in feeding America while also helping to flatten the curve during the initial phases of the pandemic. To recognize and thank our associates for their incredible work during this historic time, we offered special pay in March, April and May,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO.

“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.”

The Kroger Family of Companies’ new $130 million 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.

As part of its ongoing investment in associate and customer safety, the Kroger Family of Companies also announced today 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 of $130 million and extended paid COVID-19 Emergency Leave are in addition to the $700 million the Kroger Family of Companies has invested since March to reward associates and safeguard associates, customers and communities, all of which was contemplated in the guidance provided in a business update on April 1.

Ways the Kroger Family of Companies will continue to invest in, support and protect its associates:

  • Offering COVID-19 testing to associates based on symptoms and medical need
  • Providing COVID-19 Emergency Leave to associates most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms and providing paid time off
  • Supplying masks for all associates and encouraging them to stay home if they are sick
  • Encouraging customers to wear masks in stores, or alternatively, use ecommerce services
  • Providing comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare coverage and retirement benefits
  • Offering $5 million through the organization’s Helping Hands fund to provide financial support to certain associates experiencing hardships due to COVID-19, including childcare costs
  • Making mental health resources readily available
  • Continuing implementation of customer capacity limits and special shopping hour for senior shoppers and higher-risk customers
  • Continuing the use of plexiglass partitions and physical distancing floor decals
  • Expanding contact-free payment solutions like Scan, Bag, Go and Kroger Pay
  • Offering a no-contact delivery option, low-contact pickup service and ship-to-home orders

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