Grocery stores providing pay increases during COVID-19 pandemic
A Sobeys grocery store is seen in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
WINNIPEG -- A number of Canadian grocery stores are giving their workers pay boosts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sobeys announced on Sunday it’s launching its ‘Hero Pay Program.’
Michael Medline, Sobeys CEO and president, said in a statement the company is humbled by the efforts its employees make every day.
“Our team is playing a vital role in providing Canadians with food, medicine and essentials they need for their families during this terrible crisis,” he said, noting the new pay program will be for frontline workers in stores and distribution centres.
As part of the Hero Pay Program: employees will get an additional $50 a week, regardless of the number of hours worked and all employees who work more than 20 hours a week will get an additional $2 premium per hour for all hours over 20.
This program is retroactive to March 8, 2020 and workers will get their first payments in early April. At the end of April, the arrangements will be reassessed.
Sobeys noted they are hiring more part-time workers, and top-up programs are in place for workers who are self-quarantining for a two-week period or for those taking time off to care for their kids.
“Our retail and distribution teammates are true local heroes working on the frontlines in their communities to deliver essential services to Canadians,” Medline said.
“In times like these, enhanced compensation and support programs for those who need to care for themselves and their families are simply the right things to do.”
On Saturday, CTV News reported Loblaws Companies Ltd., which includes Shoppers Drug Mart and Real Canadian Superstores, announced a pay raise for its workers.
Galen Weston, executive chairman of Loblaws Companies, said in a statement the company has decided to temporarily increase pay for its store and distribution centre workers by 15 per cent, retroactive to March 8.
“Unlike so many businesses across the country right now, our supermarkets and groceries are performing well,” he said.
Grocery store chain Metro also announced its increasing employee salaries. It’s giving workers in stores and distribution centres an extra $2 per hour, retroactive from March 8 until May 2.
“Our colleagues in stores and in distribution centres have been working very hard for many days now, doing a great job to support our customers as we face an unprecedented crisis,” said a statement from Metro released Saturday.
“They work in a particularly difficult situation and have been working very long hours to serve our customers.”
- With files from CTV’s Cillian O’Brien.