Aldi's big decision during the pandemic has everyone talking

Working at Aldi when there's not a pandemic going on in the world can be exhausting. Factor in the increased crowds that could be bringing with them COVID-19, and it can be downright dangerous for workers. The grocery chain has really stepped up in a big way, though, and announced through their website that its employees will now be getting higher temporary pay. 

It's pretty evident that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery stores are seeing a serious uptick in their customer traffic. With hardly a restaurant in the U.S. allowing customers to dine-in, crowds are flooding into grocery stores, and chains can barely keep up with all the panic-buying. As The Atlantic has pointed out, grocery shopping is one of the few aspects of normal American life that has remained somewhat constant. Unfortunately, this also means that more grocery store employees are coming down with the virus. 

Aldi isn't just giving its workers a temporary increase in pay for their dedication, but they're also putting into place more procedures to keep employees and customers safe.

Aldi employees may be getting an extra $2 an hour

Aldi doesn't specify on its website exactly how much of a temporary wage increase its workers can expect, but Syracuse.com reports a $2 wage increase through April. At the end of the day, however, it will likely depend on the Aldi location an employee happens to be working at. For example, their website says that a part-time cashier in Daytona Beach, Florida can expect to start at $13.10 an hour. Meanwhile, a full-time store associate in Vista, California will start at a higher wage of $15 an hour. 

The grocery chain is hiring more workers to meet the customer demand at its stores, too. With over 4,600 job openings just in the United States, there is plenty of work at Aldi for those who need it. As an added bonus, Aldi employees can also rest assured that they have Easter Sunday off this year, with the temporary pay raise still waiting for them on Monday.

Aldi isn't the only grocery store offering pay bumps

Aldi is by no means the only grocery store adding new blood to its workforce, either. Walmart is reportedly adding as many as 150,000 new positions to keep up with the demand amid the pandemic (via CNN). In order to make sure shelves are stocked and registers are open when shoppers come through their doors, Kroger is also hiring 2,000 workers — and that's just in Michigan (via ABC12). Kroger workers also get a cash bonus of $300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees. 

Other companies are also putting temporary wage increases in place. Unlike Burger King slashing employee wages at some locations (and then later reversing the decision after the predictable backlash), Albertsons, Safeway, and Walmart will pay an hourly $2 extra to all of their workers through at least Memorial Day (via CNN). Target has said that it will raise its minimum wage to $17 an hour. 

Regardless of where they're working, grocery store employees will be, in a way, on the front lines of the pandemic and have even been declared emergency workers in some states — these pay raises are absolutely deserved. 

You may notice a few changes in the Aldi shopping experience

Aldi's pay raise applies to all of its workers and goes hand-in-hand with adjustments the grocery store has made to its employee sick leave and scheduling practices to keep operations running as smoothly as possible (via Taste of Home). The company is also taking measures to help protect both employees and customers by providing employees with gloves and is reportedly in the process of trying to procure masks for its workers. 

Aside from possibly not being able to find hand sanitizer or toilet paper, Aldi customers will likely notice a few other changes on their next shopping trip. The first store hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for senior citizens, vulnerable shoppers, and expectant mothers. In addition to encouraged social distancing, you may also see a plastic guard between you and the cashier at the register, and employees will no longer scan your items and put them in a different shopping cart. The cart you started with is the one you'll finish with. 

Without making this sound too much like a love letter to Aldi — trust us, they've had their scandals — their charitable efforts deserve some recognition. The grocer has announced that it will donate $1 million to various organizations to help with community needs. Kudos, Aldi.