Arlington, Virginia-based grocery chain Lidl has become the latest retailer to offer incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations, announcing it will give an extra $200 to any U.S. employee who gets innoculated.
The additional payment will be used to offset costs incurred by employees associated with vaccine administration, including travel costs and childcare. In addition, Lidl will accomodate employee schedules for vaccine appointments.
A Lidl spokesperson told FOX Business that its commitment "exceeds incentives offered by other retailers recently."
The announcement comes after Aldi's, Trader Joe's, and Dollar General said they would cover vaccine administration costs for their employees with up to four hours of pay for the two doses they receive. Meanwhile, Instacart will offer all eligible employees, including shift leads, in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers, a $25 vaccine support stipend beginning Feb. 1.
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.
"We are proud to provide our employees the resources they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of any obstacles," Lidl US CEO Johannes Fieber said in a press release Wednesday. "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. We are proud to do so again today to ensure that every team member who wants to get vaccinated is able to do so as soon as possible."
According to an internal survey, nearly 8 in 10 Lidl employees plan to receive the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Lidl operates around 11,200 stores and is active in 32 countries, with a global workforce of more than 310,000 employees.
An Advisory Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that public-facing workers at grocery stores be part of the next round, Phase 1b, of vaccines, alongside frontline workers such as police officers, firefighters, U.S. Postal Service workers, corrections officers, teachers and agricultural workers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 35 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed and more than 16.5 million have been administered as of Wednesday. According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, the United States has surpassed 24.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 405,000 related deaths since the pandemic began.
Fox Business' Jeanette Settembre and the Associated Press contributed to this report