Companies Putting Workers First During the Pandemic

Chances are, either you or someone you know is now jobless due to Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, millions of Americans have started claiming welfare for the first time. Many businesses were forced to close. Others had no alternative but to lock their doors due to a drop in foot traffic.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Essential businesses have had to keep going during the pandemic — these are the ones keeping the country on its feet. To reward their staff, the best employers have introduced a range of bonuses — from increased hourly pay to extra time off. Also, many essential businesses are still hiring during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Therefore, it’s good to know what companies are doing for workers during the pandemic. Maybe you need a job soon to get off welfare and pay next month’s rent. Or, it could be that you want to support ethical companies — those that treat their staff well during a crisis.

This article looks at some of the best companies that are looking after their employees during the coronavirus pandemic. While this is not an extensive list, you’ll find out what some companies are doing for their workers. 

Essential businesses during the pandemic

Many businesses have boosted pay for their frontline workers and offered other bonuses, perks, and benefits. But what’s an essential business? According to a government website, these businesses include: 

  • Medical staff and healthcare workers
  • Workers in the emergency services — police, fire crews, and first responders
  • People working in the energy sector
  • Transportation and logistics employees
  • Food production workers
  • Certain retail businesses

What companies are doing for workers during the pandemic

Although the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) brought in some protection for workers during the coronavirus crisis, many companies are going the extra mile. Under the FFCRA, workers are entitled to paid sick leave if they have to self-isolate or look after a Covid-19 patient. So, what are companies doing to help their frontline staff during the pandemic?

A survey by Korn Ferry revealed that many companies are rewarding staff for their efforts. Here are some interesting facts from the study:

  • 43% of retailers have increased the hourly pay for workers. 
  • 22% of essential firms are offering extra pay and bonuses.
  • ⅓ of essential retailers are offering extra paid time to staff, and many are increasing employee discounts.

It’s not just extra cash that essential businesses are paying out. Over half of all retailers have installed protective and sanitizing equipment on their premises. 

The reason for rewarding staff? Frontline workers are putting themselves and their families at risk when they go to work. Very few of them have the option of staying at home to protect themselves from the virus. 

Companies who are putting workers first during the pandemic

What are national companies doing to look after their key workers during the Covid-19 crisis? Let’s look at seven well-known brands to find out how they’re putting workers’ interests and well-being first. 


Retail giant Walmart announced they’ll pay bonuses of $300 to full-time workers and $150 to part-time workers. Employees across the board will receive these, including store workers, drivers, supply chain workers, and assistant manager. This is the second time Walmart has given a cash bonus to employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.


In May, the multinational restaurant chain announced it will give workers a 10% bonus in their paychecks. McDonald’s describes their staff as frontline heroes who are working hard to serve the community

Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods employs 13,000 staff at its food production plants. The company announced special bonuses for all employees of $300 for full-time staff and $150 for part-time workers. Also, the company is offering extended paid sick leave and other health care benefits to its workers. 


To support its frontline workers, PepsiCo is boosting employee paychecks by $100 per week. The Families First Act doesn’t apply to companies with more than 500 employees. However, PepsiCo is offering its staff all the protection that FFCRA offers — paid sick leave and paid caregiving leave. It’s not just soda that PepsiCo produces. It also makes Frito-Lay and Quaker products — and who doesn’t have one of those products in their pantry?


Let’s face it, who hasn’t stocked up on canned goods during the Covid-19 pandemic? To reward employees for their efforts, Campbell’s food company has bumped up employees’ paychecks by $2 per hour. Also, many staff received a $100 per week extra payment during April and May if they were in a frontline job. 

Kwik Trip

Similar to Campbell’s, Kwik Trip gave employees a $2 per hour bonus on their paycheck during March and April. Also, drivers and store leaders received a $100 per week premium bonus during the first six weeks of the pandemic. 

Mondelēz International U.S.

The large food manufacturer, Mondelēz, recognized the vital role its workers play in keeping our pantries stocked. From the end of March until the beginning of May, it gave a $2 per hour increase to its workers. Also, certain employees received a bonus check of $125 per week. 

Other companies putting workers first during Covid-19

There are many more employers who recognize the essential work their staff does. Other examples of companies who’ve given bonuses include:

  • Kroger — gave one-time bonuses to their team.
  • Facebook — The social media giant gave $1,000 to assist all its employees during the health crisis. 
  • Amazon — Apart from hiring thousands of more workers, the retail giant gave all its staff an extra $2 per hour on their paychecks and extended overtime pay until the end of May. 
  • JPMorgan — The investment bank gave its workers $1,000 to help them through the pandemic.

Putting frontline workers first during coronavirus

As people head off to the store for crucial shopping or shop online, it’s the frontline workers who’re putting themselves at risk to keep things running. Many businesses have been forced to close, and some have cut wages. However, not all businesses have done that. During the economic recession that we’re in now, it’s good to see what some companies are doing for their key workers.