Some stores pay employees to receive COVID-19 vaccine

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Allison McArthur
Trader Joe’s location on State Street in Orem. Companies like Trader Joe’s, Dollar General, Aldi, and more are incentivizing their employees to get vaccinated through extra pay. (Allison McArthur)

Trader Joe’s, Dollar General and other companies are incentivizing their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine with a cash bonus.

Trader Joe’s announced its commitment on Jan. 14 to give employees two hours of pay for each vaccination. Dollar General released plans for an incentive program just one day before Trader Joe’s statement was released.

“We do not want our employees to have to choose between receiving a vaccine or coming to work, so we are working to remove barriers by providing frontline hourly team members with a one-time payment equivalent of four hours of regular pay after receiving a completed COVID-19 vaccination,” Dollar General said in its statement.

Other companies, including the grocery delivery service Instacart and supermarket chain Aldi, have joined in encouraging their employees to receive the vaccine through pay and time off with no penalty.

“The company will cover costs associated with vaccine administration and will provide employees with two hours of pay for each dose they receive, up to four hours total, as well as scheduling flexibility for salaried employees,” Aldi said in its statement.

While these companies are encouraging their employees to get vaccinated, many of them specify it is not a requirement.

“We understand the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice, and although we are encouraging employees to take it, we are not requiring them to do so,” Dollar General said.

Utah County Health Department spokesperson Kylaas Flanagan said the department is always updating its websites for more information on how and why to get the vaccine.

“Our main resource is our website that is updated with new information all the time. You can go to health.utahcounty.gov for information about our COVID-19 efforts,” Flanagan said. “We have resources specific to the vaccine, general coronavirus concerns, geographic distribution of cases, official declarations that are in effect, signage and much more.”

Flanagan said he was pleased with employers exercising their legal right to encourage employees to be vaccinated, but the health department can’t go that far.

“The constantly evolving nature of this pandemic response is a direct result of increased research, information, and data. We promote only official recommendations and mandates; if others feel comfortable going above and beyond these official recommendations, there should be relatively no risk doing so,” Flanagan said.

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