Retailers have the legal right to require employees to get vaccinations to ensure a safe workplace. But Dollar General is taking a different approach by offering to pay its hourly staffers to get the Covid-19 vaccine once it is available instead.
Frontline workers—which Dollar General employees would qualify as—are in line to be the next group of people vaccinated.
Dollar General’s move comes as retailers of all stripes struggle with customers’ fears about coronavirus infection—alongside an unscientific aversion and politically-motivated anger against mask-wearing. Its decision to promote vaccinations among its employees reflects a need to demonstrate a more hygienic retail environment. It’s not clear if this will be a part of the brand’s ad messaging. But however Dollar General communicates this stance to consumers, it hopes to show its cares about its workers, and in turn, cares about its customers.
“Understanding the vaccination of healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents is underway and the CDC currently recommends the next phase of vaccinations be offered to frontline essential workers, we want to be on the forefront of facilitating our employees’ ability to receive the Covid-19 vaccine if they so choose—and we encourage all of our team to receive the vaccine when it’s available,” the discount retailer said in a statement.
Dollar General said its top priority during the Covid-19 pandemic is to ensure the health and safety of its employees, customers and local communities, and incentivizing employees to get vaccinated is part of that mission.
Because the essential retailer reasoned that because it does not have on-site pharmacies, nor a place at its work sites for employees to receive a vaccine, it decided to provide hourly workers with a one-time payment equivalent to four hours worth of wages after being vaccinated.
Salaried team members, on the other hand, will be allowed time during work to get a vaccine. Similar accommodations are being made for distribution and transportation workers, Dollar General said.
The company also said that while it is encouraging its employees to get the vaccine, Dollar General recognizes doing so is a personal health choice.
The discounter said in a statement: “While the vaccine is one critical way to slow this pandemic, we continue to take the necessary precautions to help slow the spread of Covid-19, which include wearing a mask or facial covering, practicing good hygiene (including frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer) and proper social distancing.”