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Unveiling the Truth: The Realities of Working at Kroger Exposed by Employees

Workers reveal what it’s really like to work at Kroger

The pay isn’t great

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the United States, may not offer the competitive wages some might expect. Despite being a Fortune 500 company, Kroger’s average hourly wage is still lower than some of its competitors. While the company raised its average hourly wage from $15 to $16.25 in 2021, it pales in comparison to Costco’s average of $24 per hour. Dissatisfaction with wages led more than 8,000 workers to organize a three-week protest in Colorado in 2022 to demand better wages. The protest highlighted the financial struggles many Kroger workers face, with some living out of their cars and experiencing food insecurity. Low wages have a significant impact on the lives of Kroger employees, with a study showing that 14% of employees experienced homelessness and 78% faced food insecurity in 2021.

Schedules are sometimes changed at the last minute

For Kroger associates, work schedules can be a significant source of stress. Many employees face erratic and unpredictable hours, with schedule changes often communicated on short notice. A survey of more than 10,200 Kroger associates found that the majority did not have set schedules. In some cases, employees were only notified of schedule changes on the same day or one day in advance. This lack of stability makes it difficult for hourly associates to achieve work-life balance and spend time with family and friends. The report also found that many employees perceive a shortage of workers in their stores, leading to increased workloads and turnover.

Work can get a little overwhelming

Working at Kroger can be demanding and overwhelming for many associates. Comments from Kroger employees on social media platforms such as Reddit often express feelings of being overworked and underappreciated. Employees report struggling with their mental health, experiencing depression, anxiety, and a lack of support from store managers. Comparably, a platform that compares companies based on employee reviews and ratings, ranked Kroger in the bottom 20% of similar companies for office culture and employee happiness. The survey found that 64% of employees feel burned out at work, and 81% would consider leaving their job for a 20% raise. While many employees take pride in their work, the challenging work environment is taking a toll on their well-being.

Breakrooms aren’t always comfortable

The comfort and amenities of Kroger store break rooms can vary widely. Some break rooms are described as small and unsanitary, while others are spacious and well-equipped with furniture, appliances and entertainment. However, during the pandemic, Kroger stores implemented social distancing measures, which often resulted in changes to break room policies. Some employees were asked to take breaks in their cars, which posed a challenge for those who did not own a car. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended removing chairs and finding alternative spaces for breaks to facilitate social distancing. However, some Kroger stores may have taken these recommendations to an extreme, providing ample space for social distancing but neglecting to provide seating for employees to rest.

Kroger’s hazard pay lasted less time than other supermarkets.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, Kroger, like other supermarkets, implemented hazard pay as a token of appreciation to its employees. However, the duration of Kroger’s hazard pay program was shorter than that of some of its competitors. While the program initially offered a $2 per hour pay increase for a limited period of two weeks, it was later extended for a few more weeks. This was shorter than other supermarkets’ hazard pay programs. In addition, Kroger provided employees with $1 bottles of Pepsi products as a perk during the pandemic. Some employees expressed appreciation for these gestures, but stressed the importance of longer-term wage increases to reflect the ongoing risks and challenges they face.

Not all employees comply with dress code

Kroger has a dress code policy that prohibits employees from wearing clothing, hats or masks with logos, words or abbreviations. They are also required to wear a Kroger-issued blue apron at all times. However, there are reports of lax enforcement of the dress code at Kroger stores. Employees have observed colleagues wearing clothing that violates the dress code, such as jeans with holes and clothing with large logos. Some employees even consider the blue apron provided by Kroger to be a workplace hazard. In the past, the apron has caused accidents and legal problems for the company. Despite having a dress code policy in place, it appears that strict adherence is not consistently enforced.
In conclusion, working at Kroger has its challenges. The pay may not be as competitive as some associates would hope, schedules can be unpredictable, and the workload can be overwhelming. Break room conditions vary, and the duration of hazard pay may not meet employees’ expectations. In addition, there have been reports of inconsistent enforcement of dress code policies. However, it’s important to note that not all experiences at Kroger are negative. Many employees take pride in their work and appreciate the opportunities for growth within the company. While there are areas for improvement, the employee experience at Kroger is a complex mix of both positive and negative aspects.


What is the average hourly wage for Kroger associates?

The average hourly wage for Kroger employees was raised to $16.25 in 2021, but it is still lower than some of its competitors. For example, Costco offers an average hourly wage of $24.

How often do Kroger associates’ schedules change?

Kroger associates’ schedules can change on short notice. According to a survey, the majority of associates do not have set schedules, and some receive notification of schedule changes on the same day or a day in advance.

Are the break rooms comfortable for Kroger associates?

Break room comfort can vary across Kroger stores. Some break rooms have been described as small and unsanitary, while others are more spacious and well-equipped. However, during the pandemic, some employees were asked to take breaks in their cars to facilitate social distancing.

How long did Kroger’s hazard pay program last during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Kroger initially offered a two-week hazard pay program that provided a $2 per hour pay increase. It was later extended for a few more weeks. However, the duration was shorter than the hazard pay programs implemented by some other supermarkets.

Does Kroger enforce a strict dress code?

There have been reports of lax enforcement of the dress code at Kroger stores. Some associates have observed dress code violations, such as co-workers wearing clothing with large logos or jeans with holes. Strict adherence to the dress code policy does not appear to be consistently enforced.

Are there opportunities for career growth at Kroger?

While working at Kroger can have its challenges, there are opportunities for career growth within the company. Kroger is a Fortune 500 company with numerous stores across the United States. Employees who are dedicated and motivated can potentially advance their careers within the company.

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