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Grocery workers on frontlines of pandemic

MORGANTOWN — Both Kroger and Giant Eagle are paying employees bonuses as they continue to work during the ongoing pandemic. Kroger, which has three stores in the Morgantown area, said all of its associates will receive a one-time bonus — $300 for people who work full time, and $150 for part-time workers.

“Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers. I am incredibly grateful for all they are doing. The true heroes in this story are our associates.”

The bonus covers all workers hired on or before March 1, covers the payroll period March 8-28 and is payable April 3. In addition, Kroger said it expanded its novel coronavirus emergency guidelines to include paid time off for self-isolation and symptoms, which are verified by a health care professional. All associates will be eligible to receive their pay for up to two weeks.

“We believe that by expanding our emergency leave guidelines, more of our associates can feel certain knowing that if their health is affected by or if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, they will be supported while they stay home and recover,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief people officer. Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, which has a store at University Town Centre and another on Green Bag Road, meanwhile, said bonus pay for is store employees will be retroactive through March 15 and will end on May 2.

But, Giant Eagle said it will revisit the policy. Giant Eagle has also added shopping hours exclusively for seniors aged 60, which started this week.

Hours for seniors will be from 6-7 a.m. Monday through Wednesday. Regular store hours will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 10 p.m.

Target, which has a store in Morgantown at University Town Centre, raised the pay of store employees $2 an hour through May 2.

“Increasing their compensation for a job incredibly well-done and ensuring continued compensation for those who need to care for themselves and families is a reflection of our company’s values and simply the right thing to do,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.

The Minnesota-based retail chain also said for associates who are 65 or older, pregnant, or have an underlying medical condition, can access paid leave for up to 30 days. And in April, Target said it will pay out bonuses of $250 to $1,500 to employees who supervise individual departments in each store.

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