SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods Inc. announced on April 29 that it would be doubling its bonuses to its 116,000 frontline workers and truck drivers in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic.
The meat producer will now pay out $120 million, up from $60 million in early April. The company will pay the first bonus of $500 per worker in early May with the second $500 bonus paid in July. Tyson said workers who cannot come to work due to illness or childcare will continue to qualify, but bonus eligibility will depend on attendance.
“This pandemic is ever-evolving, and the decision to make these changes reflects our desire to continuously explore new ways of supporting our team members through this crisis,” said Mary Oleksiuk, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Tyson Foods. “The safety and well-being of our people is our top priority as we work together to fulfill our critical role of feeding people across the country.”
The company said it is also increasing short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30, 2020, for workers who are unable to work due to illness.
Along with these changes, Tyson reiterated the steps the company has taken to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in plants, including taking worker temperatures and installing more than 150 infrared walk-through temperature scanners in facilities.
Additionally, workers will be screened for more symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Social distancing will be enforced at each facility with designated monitors. Finally, workers will be required to use company-provided surgical-style face coverings.
The company said it is waiving the waiting period to qualify for short-term disability so workers can immediately be paid if they get sick. Tyson Foods will also waive co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing, as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps, waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine and relaxing refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.