Kroger (NYSE:KR) told Business Insider today it plans to extend the $2 per hour "hero" bonus to its employees until May 2, rather than allowing it to expire tomorrow, April 18, as originally planned. The move will give many of the company's employees an extra two weeks of augmented pay, effectively amounting to an $80 weekly bonus for those working on a 40-hour schedule.
Kroger has taken various steps to encourage and recognize its workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Grocery and drugstore workers are at the frontline of delivering food and healthcare supplies to Americans, leading many retailers to offer their workforce increased pay, bonuses, and other perks while the COVID-19 emergency continues. Kroger even recently called on lawmakers to designate its employees as first responders to give them access to better protective gear.
As a further gesture of appreciation, Kroger has arranged with PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) to give its employees a special soda discount. While the promotion continues, Kroger workers can buy all Pepsi soft drinks that come in 20-ounce bottles for $1 per bottle. Ordinarily, these sodas cost $1.99.
While gifts of candy or pizza at other chains have irritated some workers, the fact that the cheap soda comes in addition to, rather than instead of, the existing $2 pay increase may help to mollify Kroger's associates. The announcement came in a flyer sent to stores that also stated the the retail employees braving potential coronavirus infection to carry out their jobs "continue to inspire us all during these extraordinary times."