Across industries, COVID-19 risks have prompted companies to make adjustments to the way they work, such as advising employees to work from home and practicing social distancing. But those on the front lines, like food and beverage manufacturers, are still staffing their facilities to provide life-sustaining goods and services.
To better support these essential frontline workers, many food companies are boosting employee benefits and compensation during this challenging time.
Beginning March 29 and continuing for at least five weeks, Campbell is providing the frontline hourly employees in its production facilities and distribution centers with a $2 per-hour premium payment. Frontline supervisors, depot managers, and other essential infrastructure workers will receive a $100 per-week premium payment.
Campbell has also implemented policies to support employees who will be away from work for coronavirus-related caregiving and personal health reasons.
“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the heroic efforts of our teams at our manufacturing plants, distribution centers and in-store field-based sales as they work to ensure our neighbors have food during this critical time,” CEO Mark Clouse said. “As we ask our people to step up to the challenge of meeting the increased demand for food, it’s only right that we reward and recognize the critical role they are playing in maintaining the North American food supply.”
For its North American slaughterhouse staff, Cargill is adding $2 an hour to paychecks until May 3. Employees who complete weekly shifts for eight consecutive weeks will also receive a bonus of $500.
Conagra will continue to pay employees who need to stay home from work due to coronavirus-related health issues. In addition, the company will give cash bonuses of $500 to full-time workers and $250 to part-time workers at its North American production and distribution facilities.
“Throughout this unprecedented time,” CEO Sean Connolly commented, “the hard work and dedication of our supply chain employees at all of our food production and distribution facilities has been truly inspiring. I thank each team member for their extraordinary efforts to meet the needs of consumers, achieve outstanding customer service levels and keep our plants operating effectively and efficiently.”
Over 2,500 workers at Danone’s manufacturing sites will receive a pay premium in addition to their base hourly rate, have access to paid quarantine leave if necessary, and may be eligible for up to 80 hours of financial support for childcare until the end of April.
Hormel Foods announced that it would give more than $4 million in bonuses to recognize its hardworking food processing employees. Full-time employees will receive $300 bonuses, while part-time team members will receive $150. The company has also enhanced its employee assistance fund, paid sick leave, and other benefits.
CEO Jim Snee commented, “Our incredible team of more than 13,000 plant professionals is the backbone of our company and this special bonus is one way we can continue to thank them for how they have risen to the challenge and continue to produce food with a sense of purpose and pride.”
Mondelez International has over 10,000 frontline staff across the country in manufacturing, distribution, and sales who are working tirelessly in this difficult time. Through May 2, Mondelez committed to adding a $2 per-hour increase to the salaries of these hourly workers. In addition, the company will provide its sales representatives with a $125 bonus each week.
Mondelez also plans to bolster its U.S. workforce by hiring 1,000 additional frontline workers.
In support of its essential employees working in production and distribution facilities, Maple Leaf Foods is paying them an additional $80 per week. This is in addition to the regular and overtime pay these hourly employees receive.
The company also made commitments to support health care workers and food relief efforts in Canada. “In this global crisis, we are compelled to look beyond our business and do what we can to support the many dedicated people who continue to deliver the critical services we depend on, as well as the most vulnerable in our society,” President and CEO Michael McCain said in the company’s announcement. “We encourage all companies with resources and capacity to do what they can to add their support.”
Should staff at Nestlé contract the virus, they will have access to free meals and transportation. The company is also offering “generous sick leave arrangements” and hopes to ease any financial hardships of its employees with cash loans or advances. Hourly and salaried workers impacted by temporary closures will receive full pay for a minimum of twelve weeks.
Hourly employees at Olymel will receive a fixed bonus of $2 per hour, or as much as $80 additional dollars per week.
From extended paid sick leave to supporting staff impacted by lack of childcare services, PepsiCo is taking great care of the 90,000 frontline employees driving its North American food and beverage production. Full-time employees will also receive an incremental pay increase of $100 a week or more.
Within the next few months, the company will bring on 6,000 new frontline workers to support its U.S. facilities.
Until June 26, Sanderson Farms’ hourly employees with perfect attendance will receive weekly bonuses of $1 for each hour worked.
“By offering a weekly bonus for employees,” President and COO Lampkin Butts said, “we hope to show our appreciation for their hard work and contribution to maintaining the U.S. food supply during this critical period. When Sanderson Farms employees come to work each day, they are supporting not only themselves and their families, but the entire nation.”
Seaboard will provide up to two weeks (or 80 hours for hourly workers) of full paid leave for employees who have been directed to self-isolate. Employees who complete all of their scheduled shifts from March 30 through April 26 will receive $100 for each week worked. The company will also cover COVID-19 testing and necessary diagnostics.
Roughly 5,700 manufacturing and distribution employees at J.M. Smucker Co. will receive a $1,500 hardship award. The company will also provide extended paid sick leave, pay for COVID-19 testing, and seed a $100,000 employee assistance fund.
President and CEO Mark Smucker stated, “We understand the uncertainty people are feeling right now, and are committed to do our part to ease some of that concern by supporting our employees and communities, while ensuring people and pets have access to a steady supply of food.”
In a total of $60 million, Tyson is supporting each of its 116,000 frontline workers and truckers with a one-time $500 bonus. The bonus will be payable in the first week of July and is dependent on work attendance in April, May, and June.
For up to three months, Unilever will provide its full- and part-time employees, contractors, and other workers at its sites with protection from pay drops. “This includes those women and men who work to keep our facilities secure, our premises clean, or who run our cafeterias; and who are so much a part of our team even if they are not directly on Unilever’s payroll,” the company’s announcement states.
Unilever will extend its support to its customers and suppliers — particularly the most vulnerable, smaller-sized retailers and suppliers — by offering €500 million of cash flow relief.