As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out to eligible recipients, many companies are offering their workers pay in exchange for vaccinations.

From paid time off to cash incentives, grocers and retailers are making it as easy as possible for their frontline workers to get the vaccine without missing work or having to take unpaid time off for a shot appointment.

Frontline workers are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Phase 1b group of individuals to receive the COVID shot, which also includes firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, post office employees, manufacturing workers, public transit workers, and educational employees.

While many areas of the U.S. are still just vaccinating those that are 65 and old and those with underlying health conditions, the COVID vaccine is expected to be offered to the Phase 1b group soon as the supply of the shot warrants.

The CDC said it has administered over 63 million doses of the COVID vaccine to over 43.6 million people to date. Over 18.8 million people have received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNtech shot.

With the next phased-in approach of inoculations, these eight companies will begin paying employees that choose to receive their COVID shot.


Aldi announced that it will give its hourly workers two hours of pay for each vaccine dose that they receive, equaling up to four hours of paid time off for shot appointments. The grocer also said it will provide scheduling flexibility for vaccine appointments and “cover costs associated with vaccine administration.”

“Since the onset of the pandemic, our entire Aldi team has worked to keep stores safe and stocked, and serve communities without interruption,” said Jason Hart, CEO at Aldi U.S. “Providing accommodations so employees can receive this critical vaccine is one more way we can support them and eliminate the need to choose between earning their wages and protecting their well-being.”

Dollar General

Dollar General is also offering up to four hours of regular pay after receiving a completed COVID vaccination for hourly workers and additional store hours for salaried employees to “remove barriers” such as travel time, mileage, and child care to receive the shot.

Dollar General said that it supports its frontline employees that wish to receive the vaccine and encourages “all of our team to receive the vaccine when it’s available to them.” However, the retailer said it is not requiring its employees to get the vaccine.


Shoppers and in-store employees at Instacart will receive a $25 vaccine support stipend to get vaccinated. Independent contractors will have to have to shop and deliver at least five batches for the company over the course of 30 days to qualify for the incentive.

“Our goal with the introduction of our new Vaccine Support Stipend is to ensure that, when the time comes, Instacart shoppers don't have to choose between earning income as an essential service provider or getting vaccinated,” Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart, said in a statement.


Kroger said it will pay its employees $100 after they receive both doses of the COVID vaccine. Workers will need to show proof of inoculation. Those that cannot receive the vaccine due to medical conditions or religious reasons may still receive the incentive by taking an educational health and safety course.

“As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, we're increasing our investment to not only recognize our associates' contributions, but also encourage them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available to them to optimize their well-being as well as the community's,” Tim Massa, Kroger's chief people officer, said.


Publix announced on Feb. 19 that it would provide its employees with a $125 store gift card after they completed a full COVID vaccination. Workers must provide proof of inoculation and submit an internal form to the company.

While employees are not required to get the COVID vaccine, Publix said that it encourages its workers to get the shot.

Todd Jones, Publix CEO, said in a statement, “We care about our associates and customers and believe getting vaccinated can help us take one step closer to getting back to normal. We’re encouraging our associates to get vaccinated when they become eligible and doses are available.”


Starbucks is also giving its workers paid time off to get the COVID vaccine. Employees will get paid for up to two hours of leave per dose of the vaccine, the company announced earlier this month, CNN reported.


Target said it will pay its employees for up to fours to get the COVID vaccine. The retailer is also providing free Lyft rides up to $15 each way to a shot appointment if needed to ensure the vaccine remains “free and easy for all” of its workers.

“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,” Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer said.

“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. As we have for the past year, we’ll continue to invest in our team’s pay and benefits so they can take care of themselves, each other and our guests.”

Trader Joe’s

Workers at the grocery store chain will receive two hours of regular pay per dose of the COVID vaccine for taking the time to get vaccinated, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s told CNN. Employees’ work schedules will also be shifted to accommodate their vaccine appointments, USA Today said.