Natty Harnick / AP
A growing number of grocery vendors are adopting a new approach in the race to vaccinate their workers against COVID-19: offering wage incentives.
Aldi this week became the latest grocery chain to offer employees compensation for receiving the vaccine, saying it would provide workers with a two-hour wage for each dose of the vaccine.
The grocer also promised workers receiving vaccinations that they would not lose wages for lost hours at work and that this would help pay for the shots.
“Providing accommodations so that employees can receive this important vaccine is another way in which we can support them and eliminate the need to choose between earning their pay and protecting their well-being,” said Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi US, in a statement.
With its announcement, a German grocery unit in the US joined Trader Joe’s and Dollar General in offering to pay employees extra hourly wages to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Online grocery delivery company Instacart, meanwhile, is offering a stipend of $ 25 to qualified workers and contractors.
The payments come as governments and companies grapple with how to vaccinate people amid deep doubts about the dose.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says the United States will likely need a vaccination level between 0.5 70% and 90% To gain access to herd immunity.
Paying people is an idea that wins its followers, but it also has its critics, who believe that offering to pay people can actually reinforce suspicions about a vaccine by making it appear risky.
Employers have the legal right to require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with some exceptions, according to experts.
But it can be tricky. Workers also generally have the right to request medical or religious exemptions from vaccinations under federal anti-discrimination laws, and companies are so far carefully locked in.
Dollar General, for example, made it clear that it would not force its employees to be vaccinated when it announced its wage incentives last week.
“We understand that the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice,” the series said. “Although we encourage employees to accept it, we are not asking them to do so.”