Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?
Leadership at Dollar General and Trader Joe’s understands that associates can’t stock shelves and serve customers in stores if they are out of work because they’ve joined the growing list of Americans (23.3 million and counting) who have contracted COVID-19. That’s why the retailers are offering to pay employees to get vaccinated against the virus.
Dollar General issued a press release stating that it would pay workers the equivalent of four hours of wages to get one of the vaccines being distributed around the country under an emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. The dollar store retailer is taking the step because it does not operate its own pharmacies and wants to remove obstacles for its employees, such as the cost of childcare or travel.
“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,” according to a Dollar General statement.
Trader Joe’s, USA Today reports, is offering workers two hours of pay to get the vaccine. The retailer, like Dollar General, does not operate its own pharmacies. The grocery chain is known for paying higher wages to its hourly workers than the dollar store chain.
While 60 percent of Americans plan to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll, many others are either on the fence or not planning to immunize themselves. There has been reluctance, even outright rejection, across elements of the population for historical, philosophical and political reasons.
Rollout of the vaccine has fallen far short of the Trump administration’s projections, according to reports, due to poor coordination between the federal government and states. Congress has also failed to provide funds to help cash-strapped states set up the infrastructure necessary for distribution.
In a speech yesterday, President-elect Joe Biden laid out his COVID-19 relief strategy known as the American Rescue Plan. It includes a national vaccination program in partnership with states, local communities, Tribes and territories. The plan calls for opening vaccination centers around the U.S. and putting mobile vaccination units on the road to serve hard-to-reach communities. The plan also calls for the administration to work with Congress to pick up the entire cost of the vaccines for Medicare recipients.
- Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count – The New York Times
- Dollar General Removes Barriers for Frontline Workers to Get COVID-19 Vaccine – Dollar General Corporation
- Axios-Ipsos poll: More Americans want the vaccine – Axios
- Coronavirus vaccine incentive: Trader Joe’s, Instacart and Dollar General to pay workers to get vaccinated – USA Today
- President-elect Biden Announces American Rescue Plan – Build Back Better
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely are compensation offers like those from Dollar General and Trader Joe’s to raise COVID-19 vaccine compliance among workers? How should retailers manage employees who refuse to be immunized? Do you think the American Rescue Plan, if enacted as proposed, will prove a boost for the retailing industry?