OTTAWA -- Sobeys is rewarding its employees for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grocery store company has announced the launch of the “Hero Pay Program” for its frontline staff working in stores and distribution centres across Canada.

Sobeys says all staff members will receive an additional $50 a week, regardless of the number of hours worked.

In addition to the extra $50, staff who have worked more than 20 hours a week will receive an additional $2 premium per hour for all hours over 20 hours.

In a letter to customers, Sobeys President and CEO Michael Medline says “our team is playing a vital role in providing Canadians with the food, medicine and essentials they need for their families during this terrible crisis. We are humbled by the efforts our teammates are making each and every day, as they continue to step up and support the needs of our neighbours”

Medline adds “we are hearing so many stories of the fantastic work our teams are doing and we are touched by the countless phone calls, texts and emails Canadians have shared with us.”

Sobeys says the additional $50 a week and the $2 premium for every hour worked over 20 hours a week will be retroactive to March 8.

On Saturday, Loblaws announced it would temporarily increase compensation for staff in stores and distribution centres by approximately 15 per cent, retroactive to March 8. For a minimum wage employee, the 15 per cent increase represents a pay bump of about $2 an hour.