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April 8, 2020 11:45 AM, EDT

Coronavirus Spurs New Incentives for Drivers

Tyson Foods truckTyson Foods is providing bonuses. (Capital Area Food Bank of Texas)

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Motor carriers are developing incentive plans to provide drivers with bonuses and financial support as they serve on the front lines of the country’s battle against COVID-19.

“Our focus on our drivers has been to support them with a comprehensive COVID financial package,” Werner Enterprises CEO Derek Leathers told Transport Topics. “We have chosen to not do a fleetwide incentive, but rather focus money where the need arises.”

He noted that the company’s strategy is not built around specified sums, but rather ensuring drivers have the resources they need. That includes pay for drivers impacted by the virus, and funds for an employee relief fund.

Derek Leathers

Leathers

“We set up a COVID fund that will continue drivers’ pay if they were to be quarantined for the two-week quarantine period,” Leathers said. “We pledged a million dollars to our employee relief fund to provide additional assistance above and beyond that to drivers that are in need.”

Werner Enterprises ranks No. 15 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services on March 27 paid a $500 bonus to drivers and support personnel at field operations and customer facilities.

“They have kept pace with the evolving supply chain needs of our customers in the face of great uncertainty,” J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts said in a statement. “These bonuses serve as a token of our appreciation for their service and hard work during these unprecedented times.”

J.B. Hunt Transport Services ranks No. 4 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America, and also ranks No. 4 on the TT Top 100 for-hire carriers list.

The pandemic has so far not taken a significant toll on operations at Phoenix-based Roadmaster Group, but the company is nonetheless giving drivers something extra to recognize their efforts under challenging conditions, CEO John Wilbur told TT.

“We’re relatively busy right now, even though we expect some things to slow down in certain sectors,” Wilbur said. “For our drivers, this is just a time where, if we can throw them a little bit of extra money to help them and their family, we just wanted to take the opportunity and do that.”

Drivers are getting an additional 5 cents per mile and owner-operators will receive an increase of 2% in revenue share.

“We just came up with a little bit of a boost to their pay while they are out there for this time period,” Wilbur said. “Right now we’re doing it for the month of April but we might extend it month-for-month as required.”

Wilbur noted the share of Roadmaster’s business tied to the military remains strong.

Mullen Group on March 2 launched a coronavirus action plan that covers the potential for a virus-related incident happening at a facility or a significant disruption to business. The plan was expanded March 20 to support workers impacted by suspension of some services and temporary layoffs due to work shortages.

“Our first priority must be to look after those employees, and their families, that will be temporarily laid off,” Mullen Group CEO Murray Mullen said in a statement. “Mullen Group will be offering assistance to our employee workforce impacted through no fault of their own. Up to $5 million will be made available to support employees and their families.”

Mullen Group shareholders are also being asked to help. The company temporarily suspended the monthly dividend of 5 cents per common share for three months starting April 1. Senior executives and directors will reduce their rate of pay for 90 days.

Mullen Group ranks No. 53 on the TT Top 100 for-hire carriers list.

XPO Logistics is guaranteeing employees three days’ pay if a facility is closed temporarily for deep cleaning in addition to its pandemic paid sick leave policy and standard paid time off.

XPO ranks No. 1 on the TT Top 50 logistics list, and No. 3 on the TT 100 for-hire carriers list.

Tyson Foods is committing $60 million to provide the company’s 2,900 drivers and more than 115,000 support staff with $500 bonuses that will be paid the week of July 1 for their efforts at such a high-demand time.

“Our team members are leading the charge to continue providing food to the nation. The bonuses are another way we can say ‘thank you’ for their efforts,” Tyson CEO Noel White said. “We’re proud of how our team members have stepped up during this challenging time to make sure we continue fulfilling our critical mission of feeding people across America.”

Tyson Foods ranks No. 11 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

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