LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After facing backlash for ending its "hero pay," Kroger has announced it will extend its COVID-19 sick leave policy and pay workers a one-time bonus.

The grocery store chain will give $400 bonuses to full-time employees and $200 to part-time employees as "thank you pay," the company said in a news release

Kroger said it also will extend its coronavirus-related emergency sick leave policy, which it had planned to end May 23.

The company provides two weeks of paid time off for workers who contract the virus or are told by a health care provider to quarantine, said Caitlin Blair, spokeswoman for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227, which represents the hourly workers. 

“A policy that encourages people to work while they are sick is reckless,”  Blair said.

Thousands of Kroger workers in the Louisville area are set to lose the $2 per hour “hero bonus” the nation’s largest grocery chain implemented on March 23.  Union officials called the move "demoralizing."

Kroger said the one-time bonus will be paid out in installments on May 30 and June 18. It was unclear how long the COVID-19 emergency leave will be extended.

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