Frontline workers in supermarkets, agricultural fields, and in the food and beverage industry, in general, are considered a priority for Phase 1b to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and some businesses, such as Aldi, Dollar General, and Instacart, have announced that they will provide paid time off for their employees to go to vaccination sites during their work hours.
Aldi supermarket chain said it is ensuring that all hourly workers who wish to receive the vaccine can do so without concern about losing pay or taking time away from work.
With more than 2,000 stores in 37 states, the company will cover costs associated with vaccine administration. It will provide employees with two hours of pay for each dose they receive, up to four hours total, and scheduling flexibility for salaried employees.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, our entire ALDI team has worked to keep stores safe and stocked, and serve communities without interruption,” said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI U.S. “Providing accommodations so employees can receive this critical vaccine is one more way we can support them and eliminate the need to choose between earning their wages and protecting their well-being.”
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Dollar General also reported that they want to make it easier for their employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they wish and encourage their entire team to get the vaccine when it becomes available to them.
“We do not have an on-site pharmacy and currently do not have systems in place for employees to receive a vaccine at their worksite. 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 (e.g., travel time, mileage, childcare needs, etc.) by providing frontline hourly team members with a one-time payment equivalent of four (4) hours of regular pay after receiving a completed COVID-19 vaccination and salaried team members with additional store labor hours to accommodate their time away from the store. We’re also working with our distribution and transportation teams to make similar accommodations for those teams,” said Dollar General in a press release.
The online grocery platform, Instacart, announced that it would also be offering an incentive to support the COVID-19 vaccine.
Available to shift leads, in-store shoppers, and full-service shoppers beginning February 1, the new Vaccine Support Stipend provides eligible shoppers and in-store teams in the U.S. and Canada with financial assistance as they take time away from Instacart to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In addition to the Vaccine Support Stipend, Instacart said it is also redistributing free personal protective equipment (PPE) to any shopper in need throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.