Dollar General says it will support employees who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — by paying them to get it. In a press release on Wednesday, the company said it will provide frontline hourly team members four hours of regular pay after they receive a completed COVID-19 vaccination.
Salaried team members will also receive "additional store labor hours to accommodate their time away from the store."
Since the the next phase of vaccinations will be offered to frontline essential workers, including store employees, Dollar General wants to ensure its staff doesn't have to choose between receiving the vaccine or coming to work.
The company says it is encouraging, but not requiring, employees to receive the vaccine, as it is a personal choice.
Legally speaking, companies do generally have the right to require their workforce to get vaccinated, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers are entitled and required to ensure a safe workplace in which "an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace." Such rules may in place for hospital workers, for example, who are often required to get flu shots.
However, employees with a disability or "sincerely held" religious beliefs that prevent them from getting a vaccine may get an exemption, according to the EEOC.