Cities Mandating Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers

Commentary & Community

Cities Mandating Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers

With the coronavirus pandemic lasting almost a year, cities are beginning to mandate that grocery stores offer their workers temporary bonuses. The elected officials supporting these mandates argue that grocery store workers deserve pay for serving through the pandemic, but they have led to some grocery stores closing their doors.


Cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, and Long Beach have passed laws requiring that grocery stores pay their workers temporary bonuses. The Long Beach law, for instance, requires stores whose business is 70% devoted to food and employ more than 300 employees nationally to pay their employees in that city an extra $4 per hour. These government-mandated raises would last for 120 days.


With grocery store employees putting in long hours and facing customers who may have coronavirus, the supporters of these mandates argue that it is only fair for them to get a raise. They also say that grocery chains have seen a big increase in business, so they should pass a cut of their profits to workers. Opponents counter that grocery stores have spent significant money on coronavirus-related safety procedures. They also note that these stores' margins are very thin, so a government-mandated wage increase will lead to some stores closing down.


Some grocery chains have indeed announced that they would close stores or reduce hours in areas that impose a bonus pay mandate. They are also suing to overturn these requirements.


Do you think that cities should require that grocery stores raise their workers' pay?

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