Loblaw Companies Limited and Metro Inc. have announced plans to end temporary wage premiums. The announcements follow on the heels of other retailers including Walmart, Calgary Co-op and Save-On-Foods who announced they would be ending their temporary bonus pay programs.
Loblaw Companies Limited and Metro Inc. said in statements they are considering their pandemic measures as the economy begins to reopen, including announcing plans to end the $2/hour COVID-19 wage premium for staff.
Galen Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Companies, says the company believes "it's the right time to end the temporary pay premium" because stores are beginning to stabilize.
"After extending the premium multiple times, we are confident our colleagues are operating safely and effectively in a new normal. I continue to be a strong believer in a progressive minimum wage and would support any government-led effort to establish a living wage."
Sarah Davis, president of Loblaw Companies Limited, stated in a Deloitte webinar earlier this month that the company has been spending close to $100 million per month in incremental costs related to the pandemic. "We basically did what we had to in the moment and every day we were making decisions about how to make everyone feel safer."
Loblaw said it will pay workers a one-time bonus in July, which will cost the company approximately $25 million. Metro says it will provide a bonus of $100 for each part-time worker and $200 for each full-time worker. Walmart announced in late May that it would move up its yearly bonuses, based on the company's annual results and in April paid out the bonus of $16 million.
Marie-Claude Bacon, vice president of public affairs and communication for Metro Inc. stated in a Globe and Mail article that Metro is "no longer working under the crisis conditions that prevailed from March through May as grocers were amongst the only retailers open to the public," adding that after implementation of pandemic measures, Metro is "now transitioning into recovery while not letting our guard down."
Indeed, Weston noted in his statement addressed the issue of masks, stating they're available for all of the company's colleagues.
"But, we’re watching hot zones very carefully, and requiring mask use in certain stores. For example, masks are mandatory for colleagues in our Fortinos, T&T, Loblaws and City Market stores in Toronto, and Provigo stores in Montreal. As we move forward, we will continue to scale our activities based on the local status of the pandemic and the advice of local public health authorities."