Love's to pay employees a bonus for vaccinating
Love's Travel Stops announced Thursday it will pay employees as motivation to get their COVID-19 vaccination.
The incentive, a $75 bonus, will be paid to employees who receive the vaccine. Love's said the decision covers all of its employees, including those with Love’s Truck Care and Speedco centers, alternative fuel provider Trillium, its commodity trading company Musket, the Gemini trucking fleet, its hotels and more.
Pushing this kind of incentive could improve vaccination rates while reducing the risk that employees get sick and can’t work. In Oklahoma, just two-thirds of people are willing to take the vaccine, according to a survey of Facebook users by Carnegie Mellon University.
“A big element of our culture is taking care of our team members so we're always thinking of new ways to do that,” said Shane Wharton, president of the Oklahoma City-based chain of travel stops. “As an essential business, our employees have worked tirelessly to keep America moving, and the vaccine, along with following safety protocols, offers the best protection from COVID-19. The incentive is another way of encouraging our employees to stay safe during the pandemic.”
Love’s joins other large employers who are encouraging vaccinations with cash. Instacart Inc., the grocery delivery service, announced this month that it would provide a $25 stipend for workers who get the COVID-19 vaccine. Other employers making similar incentives include Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Dollar General.
Dollar General employees will get an extra four hours’ worth of wages if they get vaccinated.
These industries are included in the federal government’s definition of an “essential business,” which eased restrictions and limits on how they operate during the pandemic.
Companies can mandate that workers get COVID-19 vaccines as a requirement for employment, although they must make accommodations for medical or religious reasons, according to guidance from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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However, most companies are reluctant to impose such mandates, said Sharon Perley Masling, a partner at the law firm Morgan Lewis who has been advising clients on workplace issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency nature of the vaccine’s FDA approval makes it impractical for many companies to require it, given that the shots are not available to most of the population, she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.