Kroger takes away Covid benefits paid to unvaccinated employees

Kroger employees load groceries and other goods into plastic bags. Those bags are stacked by a grid where robots help pick up items for customers’ online orders.


Kroger said on Tuesday it would take paid leave for employees who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and require some of them to pay a monthly health insurance surcharge starting next year.

The country’s largest supermarket operator has sent out a company-wide memo announcing the changes, effective January 1. A company spokeswoman said the new policies to encourage employees to get the Covid vaccine, in addition it will continue to offer a $100 incentive to all employees who are fully immunized.

“As we prepare to navigate the next phase of the pandemic, we are revising policies to encourage safe behaviors including vaccination,” she said in a statement.

Starting next year, unvaccinated employees who are unvaccinated and enrolled in the company’s health plan will have to pay a $50 monthly surcharge, a company spokesperson said. But fully vaccinated employees are eligible for Covid’s paid leave, if they receive a breakout case.

News of Kroger was first reported by Wall Street Journal.

The announcement comes as the prevalence of the omicron variant creates new uncertainty about how businesses should operate and when corporate employees will return to the office. New York and California mask quests have been restored, regardless of vaccination status. That led retailers to post entrance signs reminiscent of the previous months of the pandemic, reminding customers that they must wear a mask before stepping inside. Several companies, including Google, Yes push back the employee request plan to return to the office in January.

Kroger is one of the country’s largest employers with about 465,000 workers as of January 31, according to a regulatory filing.

Other companies have also tightened regulations around Covid vaccinations or added penalties for employees who do not get these vaccines. Starting from November, not vaccinated Delta Airlines workers pay a $200 monthly surcharge for health insurance. Kroger takes away Covid benefits paid to unvaccinated employees

Emma James

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