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Tyson Foods doubles bonuses; increases health benefits and protections for frontline workers

Coronavirus in Kansas

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KSNW) – Tyson Foods is doubling bonuses, increasing short-term disability coverage, and is also implementing additional health screening measures as part of ongoing efforts to support frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is now offering $120 million in “thank you bonuses” for 116,000 U.S. frontline workers and truckers, up from the $60 million announced in early April.  The company is moving up the first $500 bonus payment to early May. The second $500 bonus will be paid in July. Team members who cannot come to work due to illness or childcare will continue to qualify, but bonus eligibility will depend on attendance.

Tyson Foods is also increasing short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30, 2020, for team members who are unable to work due to illness. It is another way of encouraging team members to stay home when they are sick.

In addition, the company, which has been checking worker temperatures, will now also take the following measures:

  • Screen workers for additional symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath
  • Have designated monitors at each facility to help enforce social distancing
  • Require the use of company-provided surgical-style face coverings

“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.”

Tyson Foods said they had already waived the waiting period to qualify for short-term disability, so workers are immediately paid if they get sick with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. In addition, it has:

  • Waived the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps
  • Waived co-pays for the use of telemedicine through Doctor On Demand
  • Relaxed refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication 

Tyson Foods said they formed a coronavirus task force in January and has implemented numerous measures to protect workers. The company’s efforts have included:

  • Taking worker temperatures and is installing more than 150 infrared walk-through temperature scanners in its facilities
  • Seeking a supply of face coverings before the CDC recommended their use and now requires them in company facilities
  • Doing additional deep cleaning and sanitizing in company facilities
  • Implementing social distancing measures, such as installing workstation dividers and providing more breakroom space, including outdoor tents
  • Relaxing its attendance policy to encourage workers to stay at home when they’re sick

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