JBS to pay worker COVID costs

JBS  said it's paying all COVID-19 costs for its workers.
JBS said it's paying all COVID-19 costs for its workers.(JBSSA)
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 3:36 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 3:43 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island’s largest employer is going to pay all COVID-19 related medical costs for its employees.

In a press release, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s announced the companies would pay 100% of the costs incurred by their employees for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. The benefit also extends to family members who are enrolled in the company’s health plan as dependents.

In a prepared statement, JBS CEO Andre Nogueira said in part, “As we continue to face a time of great uncertainty due to the pandemic, we wanted to provide additional support to our team members and their families in a meaningful way....We strongly believe this is the right thing to do during the greatest challenge of our generation.”

The change is retroactive to March 1. If any workers or their dependents incurred eligible out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment under the company health plan since March 1, they will be reimbursed for their costs. Moving forward, those enrolled in the health plan will pay no deductible or co-insurance, and their respective Health Reimbursement Account funds will not be used to cover any of the costs.

JBS also conducts free random tests of asymptomatic employees in order combat spread through quarantine and contact tracing.

In its press release, JBS claimed it had spent $200 million in health and safety measures at its various plants and $160 million in increased wages and bonuses.

The company said it has also implemented screening and temperature checking at the beginning of an employee’s work day, has staggered shift and break times for physical distancing and required face masks and shields along with various other safety measures.

The company also claimed to have removed vulnerable workers with full pay and benefits and has changed attendance and bonus policies to remove “unintended incentives to work while sick.”

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