Kroger Cutting off 'Hero Pay' for Employees Despite Ongoing Pandemic

Over a month after they first announced that they would be granting bonuses to their employees amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Kroger has changed their tune. Kroger has recently announced that they are stopping their "hero pay" bonus to their employees as of May 17, despite the fact that the coronavirus crisis is an ongoing issue around the world. The bonus entitled workers to an additional $2 per hour. Following this news, Kroger has released a statement about this change.

In late March, Kroger initially announced that they would be handing out a "hero bonus" to their employees who have been working throughout this health crisis. It's unclear exactly why they are now choosing to end it on May 17. But, in their statement about the move, they stressed that this bonus was a "temporary" one.

“Our temporary 'hero bonus' is scheduled to end in mid-May. In the coming months, we know that our associates’ needs will continue to evolve and change as our country recovers," Kroger said in an email statement on Friday, according to Supermarket News. "Our commitment is that we will continue to listen and be responsive, empowering us to make decisions that advance the needs of our associates, customers, communities and business. We continuously evaluate employee compensation and benefits packages.”

When they originally announced these "hero pay" bonuses, Kroger expressed that they were implementing these additional payments because of the extensive amount of work that their employees have done throughout the health crisis. The CEO of the company, Rodney McMullen, even said, "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." Marc Perrone, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, also released a statement regarding the bonuses. The UFCW, a union that represents many Kroger employees, worked alongside the grocery chain in an effort to grant these bonuses to employees.

"Following talks between UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, and Kroger, UFCW is proud to join the company in announcing a $2 per hour wage increase," Perrone shared. "Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis."