At all our locations, the well-being of our team members is of the highest concern and we have been proactive in communicating often to them ensuring that they know that it is okay, and encouraged, to stay at home when feeling unwell. In addition to our high level of cleaning and sanitizing as part of routine operations, we have implemented further enhanced sanitization procedures in all high traffic and high touch areas. Under the guidance of health care professionals, we will also be taking team members’ temperatures at our facilities. Additionally, locations have on-site nurses who are available to answer questions, consult and advise team members and we are providing information to help our team members get access to local testing for COVID-19. Social distancing has been enacted in our manufacturing plants by having staggered start times, staggered break times and spreading out team members during breaks by using areas outside of the normal cafeteria spaces. We have also provided access to masks and personal protective face covering in our plant locations, providing further protections for our teams.
We have been a leader in our industry during this pandemic and are proud of the fact that since the beginning of COVID-19, we created a pay protection program providing paid leave and benefits to any team member who was feeling unwell, quarantined due to close contact or who tested positive. The first 15 days of Coronavirus-related absences are covered at 100% of base pay and if needed, subsequent days of leave are covered at our regular short-term disability coverage pay percentages with no limit.
This pay program has been instrumental in our ability to keep our team members safe. We have been proactive in communicating often to ensure they know that it is okay, and encouraged, to stay at home when feeling unwell or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If someone doesn’t feel well, there is no financial hardship to stay home. Our efforts exceed the CDC and OSHA guidelines.
Hormel Foods has pledged $1 million in cash and product donations for hunger relief and food insecurity as a result of this crisis and a more than $11 million in special cash bonuses to its plant production team members who continue to work tirelessly to produce food during the COVID-19 outbreak.