Take the Vaccine and Get a Bonus at Work? Some Companies Offering These Incentives.

Companies like Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s and others are encouraging their employers to take advantage of various work-related benefits associated with taking the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a wxyz.com article. This includes one-time bonuses, different financial incentives and other perks, including transportation to and from vaccination sites, too.

“Companies do have a lot of leeway in setting their own policies as to whether or not employees are going to have to receive the vaccine, but how the companies go about doing it can matter from a legal perspective,” said Lance Gable, an associate professor at Wayne State Law School in the article.

Target announced it’s offering to hourly workers up to four hours of pay and paying for employees’ Lyft ride (up to $15 each way) to and from the appointment, the article added.

“Taking care of our team has been at the heart of every decision we’ve made since the coronavirus started, and this point in the pandemic is no different,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer in a corporate blog post. “As more vaccines become available, especially for frontline and essential workers, we’ll help our team members across the country get the information and access they need. As we have for the past year, we’ll continue to invest in our team’s pay and benefits so they can take care of themselves, each other and our guests.”

Kroger is also offering employees who get their recommended doses of the vaccine a one-time payment of $100.

“In addition to the new vaccine payment, the company also announced an additional $50 million investment to thank and reward associates across its 35-state footprint, including a $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates. Both rewards will be loaded to associates’ loyalty cards on Thursday, Feb. 11,” a Kroger media release stated.

Aldi, Dollar General, and Trader Joe’s are involved, too, offering their workers four hours of pay, the article added.

Aldi also said it will “cover costs associated with vaccine administration” for employees who want to get the vaccine.

“There’s an open question right now as to whether a vaccine requirement would be prohibited by the Americans With Disabilities Act.”

Mandating the vaccine is something the CEO of United Airlines Scott Kirky has contemplated on in the article.

“I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory,” CEO Scott Kirky said during an employee town hall in January. “If others go along and are willing to start to mandate vaccines, you should probably expect United to be amongst the first wave of companies that do it as well.”

“A mandatory vaccination requirement for a COVID vaccine could be permissible under federal law but only if employers put in place potential exceptions and accommodations,” said Gable, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance.

Kroger is offering employees who cannot receive the vaccine due to a medical or religious reason an opportunity to earn the $100 bonus by taking a health and safety course, the article added.

In the EEOC’s latest guidance on wellness incentives, Gable added in the article that any gifts or incentives companies provide should be minor, like a small gift card, an inexpensive meal, or the cost of a ride.

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