Grocers like Trader Joe’s, Dollar General, a discount retailer, Lidl and Aldi have committed to paying workers to take the coronavirus vaccine.
Aldi officials said all hourly workers who wish to receive the vaccine are able to do so without concern about lost pay or penalty for lost work time.
The company will cover costs associated with vaccine administration and will provide employees with two hours of pay for each dose they receive, up to four hours total, as well as scheduling flexibility for salaried employees.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, our entire ALDI team has worked to keep stores safe and stocked, and serve communities without interruption,” said Jason Hart, CEO of ALDI U.S. “Providing accommodations so employees can receive this critical vaccine is one more way we can support them and eliminate the need to choose between earning their wages and protecting their well-being.”
The company says it will continue to work with government and health care officials to do its part to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and search for ways to enhance vaccine accessibility.
For example, Aldi plans to implement on-site vaccination clinics at its warehouse and office locations to ensure its employees have easy access to the vaccine.
Lidl, headquartered in Arlington, Va. will provide $200 in extra pay to all Lidl US workers who choose to receive the vaccine.
The grocer says the initiative builds on Lidl’s ongoing effort to protect the health of its employees. Last January, Lidl began to offer comprehensive medical coverage to all full and part-time employees, regardless of the number of hours they work per week.
In March, Lidl developed a first-in-the-industry program with CareFirst-BlueCross BlueShield to give all its employees access to comprehensive COVID-19 medical coverage at no cost, says the grocer.
Dalilah McCary, 20, an employee of a Lidl location in Bowie, Md. said she was unaware of the company offering to pay employees for vaccinations but she would take it.
Owen Patterson, 22, who works at Trader Joe’s in Northwest, says he was recently informed of the vaccine program.
“I think that companies should pay their staff,” he said. “I would get it when it comes out regardless.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare personnel and nursing home residents are receiving the first dosages of vaccinations followed by people over 75 and essential workers in a later phase.
Lidl says according to an internal survey, store employees are eager to receive the vaccine. Nearly eight in 10 of them plan to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
“We are proud to provide our employees the resources they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of any obstacles,” said Johannes Fieber, CEO of Lidl US. “From the outset of the pandemic, we have worked hard to put the health and safety of our employees first. From offering free COVID-19 healthcare to our entire workforce, to installing hospital-grade air filtration in our stores and warehouses to assure cleaner and healthier air, Lidl has made it a priority to adapt our policies to work better for our people during this pandemic.”
Curtis Knowles contributed to this story.