- Target will offer free transportation and four hours of pay to hourly workers who get the COVID-19 vaccine, the retailer announced Feb. 10.
- Workers will receive up to two hours of pay for each vaccine dose, Target said.
- The retailer will also pay $15 each way for Lyft rides to and from appointments, Target said.
Target has rolled out a number of benefits to support workers during the pandemic. The store announced in January it would award hourly workers $500 bonuses, a move it had made two other times since March 2020. Target also gave team leaders and salaried distribution leaders bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, making its total investment in the bonuses $200 million.
"Taking care of our team has been at the heart of every decision we've made since the coronavirus started, and this point in the pandemic is no different," Target CHRO Melissa Kremer said in a statement announcing the vaccine benefits. "As more vaccines become available, especially for frontline and essential workers, we'll help our team members across the country get the information and access they need."
Target is one of many household names to offer paid time off to employees who get vaccinated. McDonald's, for example, said it will give four hours of PTO to workers at company-owned restaurants.
For employers considering vaccine incentive plans, PTO-based offerings come without much concern. Some state and local laws may require employers to provide time off for workers who need to recover from the side effects of the vaccine, management-side attorneys previously told HR Dive.
But some employers are offering more direct incentives, such as cash awards. Grocery store Kroger, for example, said it will give $100 to workers who get vaccinated. Such incentives may be subject to certain U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules as they would be considered participation-based awards "provided outside of a health plan," Littler Mendelson Shareholder Steven J. Friedman previously told HR Dive.
More than 40 business groups, including the Society for Human Resource Management and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, asked the EEOC in a Feb. 1 letter to clarify how employers can incentivize vaccination without running afoul of laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act. "We recognize that wellness incentives have been closely scrutinized over the years and are the subject of recent regulations," the letter said. "We believe, however, that the paramount needs of the current crisis can be distinguished from wellness programs."
Research has suggested that employer incentives may increase employee willingness to receive the vaccine. Incentives may be especially important for retailers such as Target; a Feb. 3 poll from Morning Consult revealed 52% of retail workers said they would be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.