Kroger to take away paid COVID-19 benefits for unvaccinated employees

File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Dec. 14, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Kroger, the parent company of Smith’s, said Tuesday that it will take away paid leave for unvaccinated employees who get COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In addition, Kroger will require some of them to pay a monthly health insurance surcharge starting in 2022.

The supermarket operator sent a companywide memo announcing the changes, which takes effect Jan. 1. A company spokeswoman said the new policies are intended to encourage staff to get the COVID-19 vaccines, adding it will continue to offer a $100 incentive to all employees who become fully vaccinated.

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

Starting next year, salaried, non union employees who are unvaccinated and enrolled in the company’s health insurance plan must pay a monthly $50 surcharge, the statement said. But employees who are fully vaccinated are eligible for paid COVID leave, if they get a breakthrough case.

Kroger is one of the country’s biggest employers with about 465,000 workers at 1,353 locations in 18 states.


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