Companies are giving employees time off and extra money to get vaccinated for Covid-19.
The online grocery delivery service Instacart announced a "Covid-19 Vaccine Support Stipend" Thursday, which provides $25 for shift leads, in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers who get vaccinated beginning on Feb. 1.
The idea is to ensure "Instacart shoppers don't have to choose between earning income as an essential service provider or getting vaccinated," Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart said in a release.
Mehta is also advocating for Instacart's independently contracted in-store shoppers to be given priority access to the vaccine. (While grocery store workers are recommended to be included in phase 1b of vaccination, Instacart shoppers are not recognized by the government as essential workers.)
Even with scheduled appointments, some people who are eligible for the vaccine have experienced lines and waits in many states.
The popular grocery store chain Trader Joe's will reimburse employees with two hours of pay per dose of the vaccine received, and will take steps to make sure that "Crew Members" (employees responsible for jobs like working cash registers, receiving and unloading deliveries, stocking shelves, building displays, cleaning the floor, etc.) have time to schedule an appointment, Trader Joe's spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel tells CNBC Make It.
Dollar General also announced Wednesday that it would be giving a one-time payment equal to four hours of pay to frontline hourly team members after getting vaccinated. Salaried team will also be provided with accommodations to make up for the time spent getting the vaccine, according to a release.
From a legal perspective, employers can mandate that employees get vaccinated before returning to work, so long as they allow for reasonable accommodations for those with medical issues or religious exemptions.
While these retailers are not requiring that employees get vaccinated, programs like these may incentivize people to receive the vaccine so they feel safer at work. According to Pew data released in December, 60% of Americans say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Robert Litan, an economist affiliated with the Brookings Institution, told NPR that giving people cash payouts for getting vaccinated from the federal government would incentivize people to get the vaccine. (Of course, this theoretically would cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars to fund.)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, has said that 80% of the population needs to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
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