To provide additional incentive for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Dollar General Corp. announced that all employees who get vaccinated will receive four hours of additional pay.
In Pennsylvania, a cashier at Dollar General makes approximately $8.00/hour, which means the vaccine incentive would amount to $32.00 of additional pay.
Dollar General is the first major retailer to offer financial incentives to employees for receiving the vaccine. The company has over 157,000 employees nationwide.
It's unclear how many other large employers will follow Dollar General's lead. Two companies, Verizon Inc. and CVS Health Corp., have already said they are encouraging employees to get the vaccine but will not be requiring their employees to get vaccinated, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There is a precedent set which permits companies to require their employees to be vaccinated. During the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, employers were permitted to require vaccines. In March, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said employers could require their workers to take COVID-19 screening tests, according to the Chicago Tribune, a rationale which could be applied to requiring vaccinations.
Essential workers are at a high risk for exposure to COVID-19, especially those who are older who members of minority communities.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) included essential workers in Phase 1B of vaccine distribution; however, the recent change to Federal guidance on vaccine distribution announced by United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar yesterday may impact how quickly essential workers will receive vaccines.
Information on the vaccine, including the Pennsylvania's vaccine plan, COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, a vaccine provider map, and vaccine distribution data can be found here.