Discount retailer Dollar General will pay its employees to get the coronavirus vaccine.
The company is offering its 157,000 employees four hours’ pay if they get vaccinated, The Wall Street Journal reported.
It’s one of the first large U.S. companies to incentivize staff to get the vaccine.
Many of the company’s hourly workers face challenges including scheduling constraints, child care costs and transportation limitations that would limit their ability to get vaccinated.
“We felt the right thing to do was to break down these barriers to vaccination,” Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive, told the Journal.
Employees will check a box to verify they got vaccinated. They will not be asked to show a vaccination card or other proof in order to get the four hours’ pay.
The company will also give employees who suffer a negative reaction paid time off. The coronavirus pandemic led to a $2 billion profit in the first three quarters: a 71% increase fueled by added sales of grocery and household cleaning items. The increase in profit led company officials to pay employees $173 million in bonuses and offer paid sick leave.
It is unclear when different types of workers will be eligible for vaccination. Immunization efforts across the country have been slow, with only 9.3 million people receiving a first dose, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker. More than 27 million doses have been delivered. Federal officials had a goal to immunize 20 million people by December.
Large-scale sites are beginning to become more prevalent across the country but priority has been given to first responders and health care workers, older people and at-risk groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group