Kroger handing out bonuses, adding COVID-19 leave

Kroger is offering new benefits to its frontline workers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer says that the nation’s largest grocery market chain remains open as most other businesses and storefronts temporarily shut down due to coronavirus–is providing employee bonuses and expanding emergency leave to help its workers and show appreciation.

“Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, 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.”

Read all of HRE’s coronavirus coverage here.

The retailer is providing a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate, amounting to $300 for full-time associates and $150 for part-time associates. The bonus will be paid to frontline associates hired on or before March 1.

Kroger already handed out $25 gift cards for each employee to assist with buying groceries or other items.

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Related: 8 benefits employers should zero in on during the COVID-19 pandemic

Other retailers are also updating offerings and handing out bonuses to help workers still working in brick-and-mortar locations.

Walmart recently announced its own bonuses to workers: It will pay $300 to full-time employees and $150 to part-time employees for a total payout of more than $365 million.

Target last week said it will give all its employees access to a backup family care benefit–a plan that was previously offered to some Target workers–to help employees through the pandemic. It also temporarily waives its absenteeism policy for employees who experience flu-like symptoms or are affected by school or daycare closures and implementing quarantine pay and confirmed illness pay, both lasting 14 days.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.