Sobeys says it is bringing back pay premiums for staff in locations where COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect.
Parent company Empire Company Limited says it has reinstated so-called hero pay in Manitoba, Toronto and Peel Region in Ontario as rising cases of the virus in those areas have prompted the shutdown of non-essential businesses.
Each week, eligible employees will receive between $10 and $100 extra, depending on how many hours they work and how long the government lockdowns last.
Empire says it currently expects to spend $5 million per quarter on the program, but that could change if further lockdowns are introduced.
The company offered extra money to workers early in the pandemic, but when COVID-19 cases began to decrease and lockdowns were lifted, it was stopped.
Chief executive Michael Medline promised that if regions ever entered lockdowns similar to those experienced in March and April, he would bring back a way to reward staff for their hard work.
“Our teammates continue to work tirelessly to keep our stores safe and our communities fed. Launching the lockdown bonus, in the face of new government mandated lockdowns, was simply the right thing to do,” he said in an email to The Canadian Press.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our teammates’ efforts to keep stores open, shelves stocked and Canadian families fed have been nothing short of heroic.”