The Kroger Co. is joining other food retailers in showing some financial appreciation for its employees working hard during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The company said that it will provide a one-time bonus to every hourly front-line grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate who has worked during the coronavirus pandemic. Kroger is giving full-time workers a bonus of $300, and part-time workers will get $150.
The grocer has also expanded its coronavirus-related emergency leave guidelines to include paid time off for workers experiencing symptoms that are verified by a medical professional, and for self-isolation. Workers will receive their standard pay for up to two weeks.
"Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. “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."
The bonuses will be paid to associates who were hired on or before March 1, covers the payroll period March 8-28, and will be payable on April 3, according to Kroger.
"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," said Tim Massa, Kroger's SVP and chief people officer. "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."
Last week, Walmart, Target and other food retailers announced similar measures.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.