Chipotle To Give Employees Paid Sick Leave So They Don’t Make Customers Ill

Today Chipotle released more information on what exactly it’ll be discussing with employees when the chain shuts down all locations for a few hours on Feb. 8 to discuss the E. Coli and Norovirus outbreaks that hit the chain in 2015. Along with previously announced new food safety protocols, Chipotle says it will offer paid sick leave so that employees who are ill don’t have an incentive to show up to work, thus avoiding the risk of making customers sick as well.

We found out last week that the all-staff meetings during the lunch hour on Feb. 8 would be a chance for company executives to be upfront about the status of the outbreak, and what steps Chipotle is taking to prevent it from happening again.

On Tuesday, Chipotle shed a little more light on how those meetings will shape up, saying it will “share information as to what may have caused some customers to become ill in 2015,” as well as offering paid sick leave “helping to ensure that ill employees have no incentive to work while ill.”

“Over the last few months, we have been implementing an enhanced food safety plan that will establish Chipotle as an industry leader in food safety,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle in a press release. “Most of the new protocols are already in place, thanks to the hard work and dedication our excellent restaurant teams. Additionally, we have implemented unprecedented food safety standards with our suppliers, which make the food coming into our restaurants safer than ever before.”

Some of the components of Chipotle’s new food safety program include things the chain already covered, including changes to food prep and handling, like chopping lettuce and tomatoes and shredding cheese at central locations; blanching ingredients like onions, limes, and avocados in restaurant kitchens; and new protocols for marinating chicken and steak.

The chain also confirmed that it’ll be using DNA-based testing of many ingredients to make sure they’re safe before they ever reach restaurants.

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