The move comes after photos of a letter from Kroger’s payroll department demanding repayment of $461.60 from an employee appeared on social media.
The letter offered three options for repayment as well as an opportunity for making other arrangements. However, it also contained a threat, saying that “failure to repay the overpayment could result in further collection efforts.”
The controversy appeared to undo much of the positive PR Kroger had gained by offering $2 an hour in “hero pay” to its employees for continuing to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Many on Twitter vowed not to shop at Kroger any more.
The temporary pay raises are set to end this month. The company also plans a one-time bonus payment to employees.
At least four Kroger employees have died of Covid-19 since March.
Union representatives have sought continuation of the bonus pay, saying the risks posed by the coronavirus have not eased and noting that Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen received a pay raise of 21% last year
In a tweet, Kroger said "We've instructed our payroll department to directly inform the small number of associates affected by the recent overpayments of Emergency Leave of Absence pay that we will not seek repayment."
Shares of Kroger fell 50 cents, or 1.55%, to $31.76 in regular trading Tuesday. Shares of the Cincinnati-based grocery chain operator are up about 10% so far this year.