These companies are actually paying their employees to get the COVID vaccine

Aldi store sign - companies paying employees covid vaccine
Photo via Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
  • This story is regularly updated for relevance. Last updated: April 28, 2021

Eligible people have been lining up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since December. As more and more essential workers, healthcare employees, and elderly citizens are inoculated, some businesses have begun offering incentives for their employees to do the same. A number of companies are even paying their employees to get the COVID vaccine, something that President Biden has heartily endorsed.

Experts estimate that between 80-90% of the population will need to be inoculated or to gain immunity through infection before the country can reach a level of herd immunity. Herd immunity occurs when enough of a population has immunity to a virus to make its continued transmission unlikely. 

A recent increase in vaccine conspiracy theories may get in the way of this vaccination goal, however. To vaccinate up to 90% of the population, tens of millions of people will need to be inoculated. To ensure that conspiracy theories and wariness regarding the vaccine don’t hinder the effort, a number of companies are offering additional hourly income or are outright paying employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Jan. 31, McDonald’s became the first fast-food chain to offer its employees a financial incentive to receive the vaccine. The company is paying employees four hours of paid leave if they get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Aldi recently agreed to offer the same to its employees. Hourly workers will receive two hours of pay for each dose they receive, which should total four hours. The company has also offered to cover any costs “associated with the administration of the shot,” according to NBC News.

Dollar General announced a similar plan on Jan. 13. The company is offering its employees a one-time payment equivalent to four hours of regular pay after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Trader Joe’s also intends to give its employees two hours of pay for each vaccine dose. Several internationally based businesses announced even greater incentives, with German grocery chain Lidl offering $200 to its U.S. workers who get the vaccine. Brazillian meatpacking company JBS will pay its workers $100 to get vaccinated, and on Feb. 5, the Kroger grocery store chain also said its employees would receive a one-time payment of $100 to get the vaccine. 

By mid-February, Target said it would pay its employees four hours of PTO and give them a free ride via Lyft to get vaccinated, and Petco said it was working on a plan for its own employees. By the end of February, AutoZone announced it would pay its workers $100 to complete the vaccine cycle, and Marriott said it would pay for four hours worth of its employees’ time to get vaccinated. Bridgestone said it would pay employees $100 to get the vaccine, and Cigna was offering 10 days of PTO for those who got a shot.

Krispy Kreme also was offering four hours of PTO to get vaccinated. Even more delicious, the chain was offering one free donut per day through the end of 2021 to anybody who could prove they had gotten the vaccine.

Read more on the coronavirus vaccine:

Sources: NBC News, MU Health, Labor 411, Yahoo!

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