Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)

COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Vancouver Island-based grocery chain is sharing its success company-wide.

Quality Foods announced on Monday (Jan. 25) during its annual general meeting that a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is now a permanent increase for all employees.

The company first implemented the increase on March 13, 2020, for all 13 locations and was one of the first businesses to do so.

Quality Foods president and co-founder, Noel Hayward, said the increase was already extended twice; first until the end of April and then again in May through the end of 2020.

“It’s a pretty stressful and anxious time for everybody in retail. And our people have been great this year. And we thought it was the right decision. This pandemic’s not going away right now. So we think the best thing to do is to make it permanent,” said Hayward.

READ MORE: Parksville council supports Quality Foods application for ‘Upstairs’ lounge

He said since it seems the food service industry is hurting and people are purchasing more food in grocery stores to prepare at home, business has been good in that respect for QF, which has helped to allow the pay premium.

All department store managers have received incentive bonuses as well.

Hayward said Quality Foods was an early adapter to many pandemic precautions that are now widely used, such as plexiglass shields, AEGIS Microbe Shield on checkout conveyor belts, and the use of far-UVC light to disinfect shopping carts.

“Take care of your employees the best you can,” said Hayward. “Take care of your customers the best you can and take care of the community the best you can.”

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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