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How 5 employers are incentivizing the coronavirus vaccine

As vaccines become available, employers are beginning to roll out incentives to entice workers to receive them. Retailers, grocers and manufacturers alike have announced benefits ranging from paid time off to cash awards.

The strategy makes sense; polls have indicated that many U.S. workers are hesitant to roll up their sleeves. A recent Morning Consult survey of more than 16,000 employed U.S. adults found that 56% of respondents said they would be willing to receive a vaccine. In the final week of the survey, that figure rose to 61%.

An earlier survey of 1,000 workers found that, while 53% of respondents said they would consent to a vaccine, 56% said they would do so if encouraged by their employers. And 60% said they would line up for a shot if their employers offered a $100 award.

Incentives, though possibly effective, put employers in a bit of a quandary. Offerings based on paid time off may be more or less harmless, although management-side attorneys previously told HR Dive that such incentives create "potential for abuse."

But more direct incentives, like cash awards, may be subject to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules. Historically, employers have used wellness plans to give employees cash tied to health outcomes and other health-related activities but EEOC rules may apply. Additionally, employers must consider accommodations for employees who can not participate because of disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.

Business groups have asked the commission to clarify if and how they can incentivize the vaccine without infringing upon those regulations. As they await an answer, scores of employers have publicized their offerings.

Below are a selection of vaccination incentive commitments from a variety of industries.

The Greek yogurt maker said it's looking into hosting on-site vaccination clinics as soon as food processing workers become eligible for the shot.

Incentives may be one alternative to vaccination mandates, from which many groups of employees may be exempt under federal laws.

The chain will give four hours of paid time to corporate employees and workers at its corporate-owned restaurants, but will not make vaccination mandatory

Incentives may be especially important for retailers; an earlier poll revealed 52% of retail workers said they would be willing to get vaccinated.


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