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Foodland says day off for employees Sunday will be unpaid

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Foodland Super Market Ltd. clarified today that employees will not be paid for the day off that the company plans for Sunday.

On Wednesday, the company said it will be closing all its Foodland and Sack N Save stores across Hawaii on Sunday to thank the company’s employees for working through the holiday season and pandemic.

The company said that its employees, which number more than 3,400, received the news earlier this week as a surprise. Typically, the only day Foodland closes each year is on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, which fell on a Saturday last year.

After some backlash over the Wednesday announcement, Foodland clarified today that the closure was not a paid day off for employees.

“Our decision to close on Sunday was made in an effort to honor and thank our employees with a day for rest on what is typically one of our busiest days of the week,” said Foodland in a statement. “We selected Sunday — and a Sunday shortly after the holiday season — because with all going on in our community, the holidays were especially taxing for our team this year with staffing challenges, product shortages, inclement weather and more.”

Foodland continued: “To ensure our hourly employees were given the hours they typically work, we gave them the opportunity to work on other days. Thus, although the company will lose sales due to the closure, we are not reducing labor hours, despite the significant cost to us. The response from our employees has been overwhelmingly positive and we are grateful that so many of them have appreciated this closure in the way it was intended… as a gift to them.”

This is the only Sunday planned for closure, with no others in the future, according to spokeswoman Sheryl Toda.

Although the company, like others, has faced challenges including staff shortages and supply chain issues, she said those were not what prompted the closure.

All food, beverage and restaurant venues located inside a Foodland store including The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, HI Steaks, Mahi’ai Table (Ka Makana Ali’i), et al. (Kahala MKT.), ELEVEN and The Bar (Foodland Farms Ala Moana) and Pau Hana Bar (Foodland Farms Pearl City) will also be closed on Sunday.

Foodland thanked customers for their support and understanding, and asks them to plan in advance for the closure.

Foodland has 31 Foodland and Sack N Save stores statewide. The stores are scheduled to reopen at 6 a.m. this Monday.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally posted Wednesday and has since been updated with comments from Foodland.

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