US- On Dec. 14, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kroger told employees last week it would no longer offer paid emergency leave to unvaccinated employees who contract COVID, as of Jan. 1. Furthermore, all unvaccinated managers and nonunion employees will have an extra $50 added to their monthly health plan costs.
According to the newspaper, a spokesperson for Kroger said the new vaccination rules are being implemented "to encourage safe behaviors as it prepares to navigate the next phase of the pandemic … The changes are designed to create a healthier workplace and workforce." But The Wall Street Journal notes that the policy is also being implemented in advance of the federal vaccine mandate issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is set to go into effect Jan. 4.
Per the mandate, businesses with 100 employees or more are required to make sure that employees are fully vaccinated or take weekly COVID tests. However, a number of legal challenges have left the future of the mandate up in the air, according to the National Law Review.