After eliminating ‘Hero Pay,’ Kroger to pay employees ‘Thank You’ bonus

After eliminating ‘Hero Pay,’ Kroger to pay employees ‘Thank You’ bonus
Posted at 7:26 PM, May 15, 2020

Kroger announced that it will pay its frontline employees a “Thank You” bonus, which the company said will be paid out over two installments.

The bonuses of $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, Kroger said. The bonuses will be given to hourly front-line grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates.

Friday’s announcement comes a week after the grocery chain announced it was eliminating its “Hero Pay,” which gave employees a $2 hourly bump from mid-March into mid-May.

The grocery chain saw a surge in business as consumers changed buying habits amid the spread of COVID-19.

“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 United Food and Commercial Workers blasted Kroger for its decision to eliminate Hero Pay. The UFCW said it has confirmed that 65 grocery store employees nationwide have died from the coronavirus, and added that employees are still concerned for their safety at grocery stores.

"We are extremely disappointed by Kroger’s decision to end Hero Pay and we know that our members are disappointed as well,” UFCW President Marc Perrone said. “At the beginning of this crisis, Kroger first called these workers 'heroes' and now they have decided that they’ve stopped being heroes.”

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .