Kroger rewards employees with new payout; extends paid emergency leave

Marianne Wilson
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Kroger employee

The Kroger Co. is doubling down on its efforts to reward its frontline employees working during the COVID-19 crisis.

The country’s largest grocery store retailer said it will provide a special “Thank You Pay” to hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center employees to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores. The one-time reward will be $400 for qualified full-time associates and $200 for qualified part-time associates.  It will be paid out in two installments on May 30 and June 18.

The new $130 million bonus bookends a prior bonus, called an “Appreciation Pay,” that Kroger 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.

In addition, Kroger said 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. 

“Our associates should only be working if they are healthy and symptom-free,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s senior VP and chief people officer. “ 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.”
“Our associates have been instrumental in feeding America while also helping to flatten the curve during the initial phases of the pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “To recognize and thank our associates for their incredible work during this historic time, we offered special pay in March, April and May.”

The new payout of $130 million and extended paid COVID-19 emergency leave are in addition to the $700 million Kroger has invested since March to reward employees and safeguard associates, customers and communities.