Stop & Shop has become the latest grocery chain to end its "hero" pay for hourly workers, as stores return to shopper volume closer to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stop & Shop and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union had jointly announced the 10% increase in pay for union hourly stores associates starting March 22, along with flexible work hours and up to two weeks of additional paid sick leave for associates required to quarantine by government authorities or by the company.

The appreciation pay program then was extended through July 4.

On May 26, Stop & Shop and UFCW issued a joint statement calling for grocery workers to be designated as “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel.”

"We deeply appreciate the extraordinary efforts of our associates and have been pleased to offer and extend our appreciation pay program for longer than nearly every other food retailer. The purpose of this temporary extra pay was to recognize our associates for their hard work during an unprecedented surge in demand and customer traffic," Stop & Shop spokeswoman Stefanie Shuman said in a written statement to New Jersey 101.5.

The Stop & Shop chain has 60 stores in New Jersey.

Albertsons Companies, which owns Acme supermarkets, also offered a temporary $2 a hour increase for all non-union and union employees from March 20 to May 2.

Wegmans provided employees an additional $2 an hour at the height of the pandemic during the months of March, April and May.

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Whole Foods workers received an additional $2 an hour for as least some of the spring, but that program ended June 1.

ShopRite continues to provide store employees "temporary emergency premium pay" of $2 per hour, also instituted March 22 as the public health crisis first gripped the state.

"As non-essential businesses start to reopen, we have begun the process of transitioning to pre-COVID-19 wages. We will discontinue the emergency premium pay effective August 2," according to Karen O'Shea, spokeswoman for ShopRite parent company Wakefern.

Trader Joe's is another grocery chain that continues to pay its employees an additional $2 an hour as "thank you pay for all crew members," according to the company's website. Trader Joe's also said it has offered its staff a "few additional ways" to qualify for and maintain health insurance.

Shuman said as states continue to reopen, Stop & Shop stores are returning to "pre-COVID levels of traffic and demand." She said the company would continue to offer associates a flexible leave policy and additional paid sick leave.

O'Shea said ShopRite's extra pay program provided more than $54 million in incremental wages and safety measures.

She also noted ShopRite stores require associates and customers to wear face coverings and practice social distancing and sanitation measures.

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