Dollar General Corp. is offering employees a deal: Go get a Covid-19 vaccine and receive four hours of pay.
The retailer, which has 157,000 employees, is among the first large U.S. employers to incentivize staff to be vaccinated, a sign that companies with essential workers see mass inoculation as critical in overcoming the pandemic.
Grocery stores, airlines and transit companies are jockeying for priority access to Covid-19 vaccines for their workers, hoping to protect them from rising case counts nationally and give customers assurance, which in turn buoys business.
Some big employers have said they want as many workers as possible to be vaccinated but will stop short of requiring staff to get shots. Verizon Communications Inc. told staff this week it won’t require them to get vaccinated, and CVS Health Corp. , whose pharmacists are distributing vaccines and are themselves eligible for doses, said it encourages but doesn’t mandate shots.
Many hourly workers face challenges in getting to vaccine appointments, from child-care needs and transportation limitations to scheduling constraints from holding multiple jobs. Some retail workers are wary of seeking medical services because they receive the minimum wage and often lack access to work-sponsored health insurance coverage or paid time off.