business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Kroger "is eliminating some Covid-19 benefits for unvaccinated employees," telling employees that "it will no longer provide two weeks of paid emergency leave for unvaccinated employees who contract Covid-19, unless local jurisdictions require otherwise. Kroger will also add a $50 monthly surcharge to company health plans for unvaccinated managers and other nonunion employees."

The story notes that Kroger is making these moves "as U.S. businesses face continued uncertainty over federal vaccination mandates. Rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in November require employers with 100 or more workers to ensure employees are vaccinated or take weekly Covid-19 tests by Jan. 4.

"Whether those rules, which were targeted by lawsuits across the country, will take effect is uncertain. Last week, a U.S. court blocked the plan to mandate vaccines for federal contractors. General Electric Co. and others have since suspended vaccine requirements for employees. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati is considering whether to reinstate the administration’s rules for employers."

KC's View:

The argument here, since the moment federal vaccine mandates were announced, has been that the feds were giving businesses cover - that they could get tougher in their own mandates and blame it on the Biden administration.

I think this is a good move by Kroger, and I hope other businesses follow its lead.

I've been saying here for some time - and we have this conversation below in "Your Views" - that insurance companies ought to tell people that if they don't get vaccinated and get Covid, their medical expenses will not be covered.  And the government ought to tell people that they can't claim unemployment benefits or any other government benefits of they're not vaccinated.

We had a story yesterday about organized labor demanding greater Covid protections from retailers.  Step one ought to be to require employees to be vaccinated, and the unions ought to be on board with that.