Grocers offering incentives to vaccinate employees

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin’s 72,000 grocers are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and some employers are offering incentives.

The last 12 months have been different for Marvin Moore who works the front end at Metcalfe’s Hilldale location.   Social distancing, barriers, and masks make it hard for him to have a personal interaction with customers which is one of his favorite parts of the job.   Yet everyday he rides the bus to his job and puts on a smile, even though he could be exposing himself to the virus.

“I pray every morning that I come to work to be safe, and (I) don’t bring any sickness home to my family,” says Moore.

Moore is one of many Metcalfe’s employees who plan on getting the vaccine.  A recent company survey found 83% of those who responded were interested.

“We believe strongly that every employee should get vaccinated. We’re not mandating it, but we also want to encourage them to do that,” says company president Tim Metcalfe.

Metcalfe’s is encouraging its 500 employees by offering two paid hours for each dose of the vaccine they receive, and up to 8 hours of paid time off if they have adverse reactions.

Other grocers are also offering incentives.  Pick n’ Save and its parent company Kroger are offering employees $100 for getting the vaccine.

“It was a lot to ask of that industry and those employees stepped up and did a great job for the past year.  Now we’re into 2021 and we’re going to keep up that same effort,” says Brandon Scholz, Wisconsin Grocers Association President and CEO.

After employees are vaccinated, Metcalfe says his employees will continue to wear masks and gloves and continue practicing socially distance.