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Food companies offer staff pay premiums during COVID-19

Maple Leaf Foods, Mondelēz and Cargill have put financial and safety plans in place for frontline workers

Maple Leaf Foods, Mondelēz and Cargill are the latest companies in Canada to offer pay premiums to hourly staff, as they work to maintain a safe food supply during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Maple Leaf Foods will pay an additional $80 per week to employees working at its protein processing plants, in addition to regular and overtime pay. (Maple Leaf also committed $2 million to support emergency food relief efforts and $2.5 million for a new fund to provide personal support to front-line health providers.)

"In this global crisis, we are compelled to look beyond our business and do what we can to support the many dedicated people who continue to deliver the critical services we depend on," said Maple Leafs Foods CEO Michael McCain in a statement.

Cargill, meanwhile, will provide an increase of $2 per hour, with a bonus of $500 paid to those who complete weekly shifts over a period of eight consecutive weeks.

Snack manufacturer Mondelēz Canada announced Monday that workers would see their pay increase by $2 hour or $125 per week, depending on how the employee is paid, until April 30. The program includes workers who make, ship or sell the company's goods, according to a statement.

And, in a bid to support the health and safety of its employees, all three companies are making improvements to its operations, including adjusting break times and providing additional space for social distancing and increasing the frequency of sanitation in common areas of the plants.

The announcement from some of Canada's food manufacturers follows similar moves made over the weekend by food retailers. Loblaws, Sobeys, Giant Tiger, Whole Foods and Metro are all increasing compensation for its frontline staff.



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