Indianapolis, Ind. – The Kroger Family of Companies announced Tuesday that it will provide all hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates with what they call a "hero bonus."
The bonus is a $2 premium above employees' standard base rate of pay. Kroger says it will be applied to hours worked March 29 through April 18 and will be disbursed weekly.
“Our associates have displayed the true actions of a hero, working tirelessly on the frontlines to ensure everyone has access to affordable, fresh food and essentials during this national emergency,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “The Hero Bonus is just one more way we continue to convey our thanks and gratitude not only to our existing associates but also to the more than 30,000 new hires who have joined in the past two weeks and those who will soon join the Kroger Family of Companies.”
Kroger says it has taken the following steps to protect workers and customers:
- Enhancing our daily sanitation practices, including cleaning commonly used areas more often like cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, food service counters and shelves.
- Permitting and working hard to procure protective masks and gloves for associates.
- Installing plexiglass partitions at check lanes, and pharmacy and Starbucks registers across the enterprise.
- Adding floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters.
- Adjusting store operating hours to allow more time for associates to rest, clean and replenish inventory.
- Continuing to expand pickup and delivery services and contactless payment solutions like Kroger Pay.
Kroger says it is taking several the following actions in addition to the hero bonus to support employees during this time:
- Ensuring associates who are affected by COVID-19 – whether experiencing symptoms and self-isolating, diagnosed or placed in quarantine – can recover with the support of emergency paid leave.
- Beginning next week, the Kroger Family of Companies is adding ExpressPay – a new benefit that allows most hourly associates to access some of their pay faster, putting money in their pockets sooner than usual.
- Making $5 million available for those facing hardship, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered higher-risk, due to COVID-19 through the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund.
- Offering an associate hotline to answer benefit questions quickly.
- Providing access to mental health services and other benefits to support associates’ mental and physical well-being during this stressful time.
- Supporting associates by onboarding more than 30,600 new hires in the last two weeks, including workers from the hardest-hit sectors like restaurants, hotels and food service distributors.