Kroger to End Paid Coronavirus Benefits for Unvaccinated Employees

Kroger employees put groceries and other goods into plastic totes. Those totes are gobbled up by a grid where robots help retrieve items for customers’ online orders. / Kroger

Kroger said Tuesday that it will take away paid leave for unvaccinated employees who get Covid-19 and require some of them to pay a monthly health insurance surcharge starting next year.

The country’s largest supermarket operator sent a companywide memo announcing the changes, which take effect Jan. 1. A company spokeswoman said the new policies are intended to encourage staff to get the Covid 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,” she said in a statement.

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

The Kroger news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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SOURCE: CNBC, Melissa Repko