Hazard Pay for California Grocery Workers

Two weeks into February, several Northern California cities have passed premium-pay ordinances that require certain grocery stores and drugstores to provide workers with hazard pay.  

On February 2, 2021, The City of Oakland approved an ordinance that gives workers an additional $5 per hour and applies to grocery stores that employ at least 500 employees nationwide. Montebello City Council passed an urgency ordinance on January 27, that gives workers $4 per hour and applies to grocery stores and drug stores with at least 300 employees throughout the country and over 15 workers per store within the city. 

On February 10, the San Jose City council approved its hazard pay ordinance that gives workers $3 per hour and applies to chain supermarkets, large grocery stores, and retail stores that sell food and employ a minimum of 300 workers nationwide. Two Southern California cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as Seattle in the State of Washington, have passed similar ordinances. 

The following are some of the grocery stores affected by the ordinance: 

  • Kroger (e.g., Ralphs, Food 4 Less, etc.) 

  • Albertsons 

  • Whole Foods 

  • Trader Joe’s 

  • CVS 

  • Walgreens 

In March 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic, big grocery chains offered their employees an additional $2 per house in hazard pay. However, Kroger and Rite Aid ended such pay in May, while Albertsons and Amazon stopped it in June. 

As more and more cities are mandating hazard pay to grocery store and drug store employees, industry groups are pushing back. The California Grocery Association has filed lawsuits in federal courts in an attempt to block the new ordinances in Oakland, Montebello, and Long Beach. 

According to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, approximately 134 grocery workers have passed away from COVID-19 and thousands have been infected. 

If you are dealing with an employment issue in California, do not hesitate to contact Polaris Law Group at (888) 796-4010 today. Serving wronged employees for more than two decades. 

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