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Kroger ends COVID sick pay benefits for unvaccinated employees

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(NEW YORK) — Kroger, one of the largest employers in the U.S. with 500,000 workers, announced that it will pull paid emergency COVID leave for unvaccinated employees.

The grocery chain is also adding a $50 monthly insurance surcharge for salaried associates who are unvaccinated.

The new rules will take effect starting Jan. 1, 2022.

Kroger said this is a necessary step to protect its employees and customers.

“We have been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years and in line with our values, the safety of our associates and customers has remained our top priority,” Kroger said in a statement about the policy shift.

The supermarket chain said employees who are fully vaccinated will still be entitled to paid leave and the new policy does not apply to workers with medical or religious accommodations.

Kroger will continue to pay $100 to workers who choose to get vaccinated.

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