More companies offering employees incentives for COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 3:24 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 22:03:40-04

PHOENIX — As Arizona and other states are beginning to see demand for the COVID-19 vaccine slow down, some companies are offering incentives to encourage their employees to get the vaccine.

Whether or not to require employees to get the shot, or to provide incentives to those who get it, has been a topic of debate across the country.

In Sun City West, Southwest Golf Cars, a company that sells golf carts, recently told their staff that they could receive a raise -- $1 more an hour -- to get the vaccine.

"As an employer, I'm responsible to have a safe environment for my employees, for our customers," General Manager Nancy McIntosh told ABC15.

While she is not requiring her employees to get the vaccine, she does hope that the wage increase will be viewed as a worthwhile incentive to her employees. She owns three locations, each with between 16-18 employees.

"If somebody gets COVID, we all work very closely together," McIntosh said. "That's going to affect everybody else in the company."

Those who work for the City of Phoenix and get the COVID-19 vaccine, are eligible to receive a $75 reward, part of the "Vaccine Safety Award."

As of Tuesday, a City of Phoenix spokesperson told ABC15 that 4,779 of those awards had been processed since the program launched on February 9.

"We are definitely seeing pressure, whether it's in the form of a requirement or in the terms of an incentive for people to get the vaccine," said Jonathan Frutkin, principal of Radix Law in Scottsdale.

Frutkin told ABC15, employers have wide latitude when it comes to requiring -- and certainly incentivizing -- employees to get the vaccine.

"As long as a company is looking at things in terms of just the vaccine, not based on age or gender or any of those other protected categories, they can provide whatever incentive they want, including bonuses and including raises," Frutkin said.

Some companies are even offering discounts and freebies to their customers to get the vaccine. At Krispy Kreme, people can get a free glazed doughnut by showing their vaccination card.