Government-Mandated Hero Pay Fails To Achieve Its Lofty Goals
BY: WAYNE WINEGARDEN, FORBES CONTRIBUTOR
Published in Forbes on January 15, 2021
Offering a temporary pay increase to grocery workers, often referred to as “hero pay”, makes a lot of sense when grocers voluntarily provide this additional compensation to their employees. Grocery workers are taking on additional health risks, suffering additional stresses, and must work in more difficult environments, which all warrant additional compensation.
Reflecting these concerns, many grocery retailers in California provided “hero pay” to employees in March 2020. The hero pay added at least $2 per hour to workers’ paychecks, sometimes more, which was phased out during the summer of 2020.
In what many people view as an extension of this policy, the Long Beach and Los Angeles city councils are now considering mandating a $4 per hour grocery worker pay boost that would last for “at least” four months. Imposing a government-mandated wage increase on grocers is far different from grocers offering their workers’ hero pay.