8:40 AM PT -- 2/1 -- Smart & Final just backpedaled on scrapping COVID sick pay, the grocery chain is reviving the program after dealing employees what they considered was a low blow.
The grocer's president and CEO, David Hirz, blasted out an email to employees Monday announcing the return of extra paid sick days after negative "feedback" from workers.
Smart & Final also says it will give employees two hours of paid time off whenever they are fully vaccinated.
Smart & Final's leaving workers twisting in the wind as the pandemic rages on ... the grocery chain put the kibosh on COVID sick pay before most employees could even get the vaccine.
Corporate blasted out an email to employees Thursday informing them supplemental sick days for COVID-related issues were no more.
We're told the feeling among employees is that it's a low blow after busting their butts for the company and risking exposure to the virus for 10 months and counting.
Like many other essential businesses, Smart & Final tacked on extra paid sick days early on in the pandemic, but now employees are being told they've gotta use regular sick days or even vacation days if they have to miss work because of COVID.
Problem is ... the pandemic is far from over, and we're told many employees are upset with the change because they still aren't eligible for vaccination and they're in the dark about how to even go about getting the shots once it's their turn in line.
We reached out to Smart & Final ... so far, no word back.