Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) is a grocery chain based in Cincinnati that has decided to remove some Covid-19-related benefits for its workers that haven’t gotten the vaccine. The company is doing this to encourage inoculations.
Last week, the grocery chain told its workers that it wouldn’t be providing its two-week-long paid leave to unvaccinated workers who contract the coronavirus unless it’s required to by local jurisdiction.
Uncertainty over-vaccination mandates
Kroger, one of the nation’s biggest employers with nearly 500,000 part-time and full-time employees, is looking to tighten Covid-based policies for its employees as the United States business space continues to face uncertainty regarding federal vaccination mandates.
In November, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued rules requiring employers with one hundred or more employees to make sure their workers are vaccinated or take weekly Covid tests.
Whether these rules and regulations will take effect is still a bit uncertain. Last week, a court in the US blocked plans to mandate vaccinations for federal contractors. GE, among other companies, has since suspended any Covid vaccination requirements for its workers.
A Cincinnati-based federal appeals court is pondering whether to bring back the administration’s policies, rules, and regulations for workers.
How do industry executives feel?
Supermarkets and retail chains rely on thousands of front-line employees. However, most don’t have a test or vaccine mandate in place, nor have they changed their policies.
Executives in the industry have said that they’re hesitant to make significant changes because they fear their employees might quit if they require them to either get tested weekly or vaccinated.
They also blame the continued rising costs of both transportation and labor.
A spokeswoman from Kroger said that they’re modifying some of the company policies to create a safe environment as it prepares to deal with the global pandemic’s next phase. She claimed that the changes are meant to help give rise to a healthier workforce and workplace.
She said that Kroger used feedback from its customers and employees to help guide it through the policy creation process. She also said the company will still encourage sick workers to stay home.
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