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Why is Hy-Vee suspending its employee discount program?

Company officials tell Local 5 they hope to bring the program back in the near future.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Grocery store chain Hy-Vee has told its employees that their 10% discount program is suspended effective Monday.

Hy-Vee offers a 10% discount on groceries to all employees, which is sometimes increased to 20% during special occasions. According to a 2020 Facebook post, Hy-Vee employees saved more than $12 million during the first six months the discount was offered.

In a video shared with employees and reviewed by Local 5, a Hy-Vee executive said that during a recent weekend, the company noted multiple employees abusing the discount. 

For example, the official says one employee's discount was used in five states in a single hour and claims another employee was purchasing large quantities of merchandise to resell. One employee who anonymously spoke to Local 5 believes that some people had misused the discount, but is worried the move to suspend it altogether punishes everyone.

"They knew specifically whose card it was and where it was being used. They could identify exactly who was doing wrong, but all of us are losing out on it," the employee said.

Within the video, a company official says they are hoping to have a new discount program in place sometime this summer. Hy-Vee officials who spoke to Local 5 didn't have a more specific timeline. 

However, in a press release received on Monday, Senior Vice President of Communications Tina Potthoff said the grocery chain is currently in the process of revamping the program and hopes to relaunch the benefit to employees by mid-April.

But some employees say that they won't be waiting around.

"I honestly can't imagine working at a grocery store where you don't get any sort of employee discount at all," the employee who spoke to Local 5 said.

While the company's website no longer lists details for the employee discount program, an archived version of the page (August 2022) says employees would "have the option to give up to one guest access" to the discount, providing they resided at the same address as the employee.

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