Employees at Hillsdale’s Kroger store will face mon­etary penalties if they do not receive the COVID-19 vaccine under a nationwide company policy that took effect on Jan. 1. Addi­tionally, starting in Feb­ruary, the company will require unvac­ci­nated employees to be tested for the virus weekly. 

Taylor Cole, assistant store manager at Kroger in Hillsdale, said salaried workers who are not vac­ci­nated will also face mon­etary penalties totaling up to $600 per year fol­lowing the new policy. He said hourly workers will not be effected by the penalties, but will still be subject to weekly testing beginning in February.

Until Jan. 28, vac­ci­nated employees can report their vac­ci­nation status to the company to receive a $100 bonus in the form of gift cards or a direct deposit, according to Cole. This has been in effect since Feb­ruary 2021, according to a news release.

“We don’t force everyone to have a vaccine,” Cole said. “Our weekly testing policy will go into effect in Feb­ruary so everyone that is not vac­ci­nated will have to be tested every week.”

According to a 2020 news release pub­lished before the policy change, all employees who con­tracted the virus were entitled to up to two weeks of paid leave if placed under quar­antine by a medical provider.

COVID-19 paid emer­gency leave is no longer available for unvac­ci­nated employees under the Jan. 1 policy, according to a Kroger cus­tomer service spokesperson. The company will still offer earned paid time off and unpaid leave for unvac­ci­nated employees who con­tract the virus. Paid emer­gency leave is still available for fully vac­ci­nated employees with extreme cases of COVID-19.