Kroger began thinking about adding an earned wage access benefit—which allows employees to receive some of their earned wages ahead of their scheduled payday—in 2019 to “meet the needs of our associates who get paid weekly and who typically live paycheck to paycheck,” says Theresa Monti, vice president of total rewards for Kroger. It was planning to first pilot a program before it rolled it out to a significant number of its workers.
Then COVID-19 hit. The pandemic, which saw many employees struggling financially with layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours, made Kroger quickly rethink its slow rollout plans.
“When the COVID pandemic