SPOKANE, Wash. — Kroger, the company that owns Fred Meyer, announced on Friday that it will provide "Thank You Pay" to its hourly employees.
This comes after a union representing more than 100,000 grocery store workers asked Kroger to continue paying its hourly "Hero Bonus" during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fred Meyer has locations across the northwest, including in eastern Washington and North Idaho.
“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, in a prepared statement.
“As the country moves toward reopening, we will continue to safeguard our associates’ health and well-being and recognize their work," McMullen added.
Kroger representatives said on Friday that the final payment for multiple Hero Bonuses that began in April will take place on May 23.
The company will now offer $130 million in Thank You Pay, which amounts to a one-time $400 payment for qualified full-time employees and $200 for qualified part-time employees. The bonus will be paid out in two installments on May 30 and June 18.
The Kroger Family of Companies’ new $130 million Thank You Pay bookends an Appreciation Pay 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.
Testing is available for Fred Meyer associates based on their symptoms and medical need, said Fred Meyer spokesperson Jeffrey Temple. Workers who are most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms have been provided with emergency leave or paid time off, he added.
Fred Meyer has also instituted other safety measures throughout the store, including installing plexiglass partitions on check stands, Starbucks kiosks and the pharmacy counter and providing masks for employees.