Some Grocery Stores To Offer Pay Incentive for Employees To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on worldwide, essential workers face the possibility of contracting COVID-19 simply by just going to work. The CDC moved non-healthcare frontline facing workers into Phase 1b of the vaccine roll out, and some grocery stores are implementing pay incentives to make sure that their employees, the very people that have kept this country running and fed for nearly a year, get vaccinated and get paid to do so.

Aldi became the latest grocery store to announce that it plans to offer employees compensation for getting vaccinated, saying it would provide workers with two hours of pay for each of the two vaccine doses. Trader Joe’s and Dollar General has previously offered to pay employees extra hourly wages to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Online grocery-delivery firm Instacart, popular among gig workers and customers at home during shelter-in-place orders, is offering a $25 stipend for eligible workers and contractors.

In the United States, employers have a right to ask that their employees get the COVID vaccine, however, Dollar General is not requiring their employees to be vaccinated. “We understand the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice,” the chain said. “And although we are encouraging employees to take it, we are not requiring them to do so.”

The incentive comes just weeks after states like California and New York reported increasing COVID transmissions among grocery store employees. Though there are some that question the optics of paying someone to receive the vaccine because there is still much mistrust in the rapidly created vaccine, experts agree that in order to take control of the pandemic in the United States, at least 70-90% of the population must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi U.S., said in a statement. “Providing accommodations so employees can receive this critical vaccine is one more way we can support them and eliminate the need to choose between earning their wages and protecting their well-being.”