Tyson Foods Inc. announced that it will pay about $60 million in “thank you” bonuses to 116,000 "front line workers" and Tyson truckers in the U.S. who support its operations daily to provide food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible employees will receive a $500 bonus, payable the first week of July. This is in addition to other announced efforts to support workers, plant communities and livestock producers during the pandemic.

“We’re proud of how our team members have stepped up during this challenging time to make sure we continue fulfilling our critical mission of feeding people across America,” said Tyson Foods CEO Noel White.

“Our company recently relaxed our attendance policy and we encourage our team members to stay at home if they’re exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection. We’re taking additional precautionary measures, such as daily temperature checks at all our facilities and daily cleaning with extra sanitizing in high traffic areas. 

The payments are in addition to other changes Tyson made to protect and support workers and ensure continuity in the U.S. food system.

The company restricted visitor access to its facilities and relaxed its attendance policy to reinforce the importance of staying home when sick or meet childcare needs. It implemented use of temporal thermometers to check temperatures of employees before they enter Tyson facilities and expects delivery of infrared temperature scanners following a successful trial, stated a press release.

Tyson is offering protective face coverings for production workers upon request and is working with the CDC for other guidance on use of personal protective equipment.

Tyson Foods, with mandatory health care coverage, is waiving the five-consecutive day waiting period for short term disability benefits, so workers can receive pay while they’re sick with the flu or COVID-19. Tyson waived the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well eliminated pre-approval or preauthorization steps. 

It waived co-pays for the use of telemedicine and relaxed refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.  

Tyson recently committed $13 million to support critical needs in local communities where it operates. This includes $2 million in grants for non-profits to help support Tyson team members and their communities. This will be focused on non-profits with efforts such as rent and utility aid, food distribution, health care, childcare and small business support.

Tyson Fresh Meats provided a one-time premium for cattle harvested the week of March 23.

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