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Free doughnuts, cash and even marijuana — businesses pile on perks for workers who get vaccinated


Getting America vaccinated will go a long way toward helping the country return to some sort of normal.

Already, employers such as Instacart, Target, Trader Joe’s, Chobani, Petco, Darden Restaurants, McDonald’s and Dollar General are among a growing list of companies giving workers time off and extra money to get vaccinated for Covid-19.

Kroger is awarding employees $100 in store credit in addition to a one-time $100 payment for taking the vaccine. Publix said it will give associates a $125 gift card to use in the store after they get both doses.

For its part, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is offering anyone — employed or not — with proof of a Covid vaccination a free doughnut.

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And, The Greenhouse of Walled Lake, a marijuana dispensary in Walled Lake, Michigan, is giving anyone over the age of 21 with proof of vaccination a free pre-rolled joint. The “Pot for Shots” promotion is a “way of saying thank you for helping to end this pandemic and getting us back to normal,” the dispensary said.

Nearly one-quarter of employed Americans who probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated would consider getting their shot if offered a cash bonus or stipend, according to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management.

And yet, as of the most recent tally, 88% of organizations are unsure or have no plans to offer any incentives to encourage vaccinations.

More than 9 in 10 workers said their employer is not providing incentives, or don’t know whether they might be, the report also found.

But that’s likely to change, according to Amber Clayton, director of the Society for Human Resource Management’s Knowledge Center.

As vaccines become more available, and employers try to get back to business, we will see more businesses offering incentives, she said.

While a glazed doughnut is unlikely to tip the scales, “they are making a statement and supporting vaccinations,” Clayton said.

A separate survey by Blackhawk Network found that this strategy could be effective. More than two-thirds of workers said they would accept a monetary incentive ranging from as little as $10 to as much as $1,000. One-third said they would get vaccinated for a $100 or less.

Most said money was the best motivator, with paid time off a distant second choice. Blackhawk Network polled more than 2,000 adults in January.

If your business is offering a freebie or perk for proof of vaccination, please email me about it at [email protected]

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