HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Most companies would like to see as many of their employees vaccinated as possible ― and some are launching incentives to encourage them to get the shot.
Perhaps one of the most high-profile in Hawaii to date: Zippy’s hopes to launch a new safety initiative next month that would reward workers who have been immunized.
Under the wellbeing program, getting the vaccine would get you one step closer to earning a day off.
The job restaurant workers do is considered essential. Often considered the forgotten frontline, for Zippy’s employees working from home is not an option.
“Safety is so important for us,” said FCH Enterprises President Paul Yokota.
For months, the local restaurant chain has been busy creating the overall safety incentive program.
“Whether it’s how to lift properly of how to avoid slip and falls,” Yokota said. describing the courses offered.
The idea is to give employees points for each step completed in the safety program. Now he wants to extend that same perk to those who get the the coronavirus vaccine.
Points can be redeemed for things like logo clothing. And once enough points are earned, the top prize is a paid day off.
“It’s will help to create a safe atmosphere,” said Yokota. “For not only themselves but their work teams and for their homes, their households.”
Yokota stressed it’s not a requirement to get the vaccine, but he is encouraging the company’s 1,600 employees to get the shot.
Offering vaccination incentives to employees is a growing national trend.
McDonald’s is offering workers at its corporate-owned restaurants up to four hours paid time off to get their shots.
Target is offering its hourly employees the same deal. The retailer is also covering transportation costs, reimbursing Lyft rides of up to $15 to and from appointments.
Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii CEO, applauded Zippy’s and other employers for the incentives programs.
“We will not create a safe environment here in Hawaii unless we have the overwhelming majority of our population vaccinated,” he said.
Health experts say between 70 and 90% of the population needs to be immunized in order to achieve herd immunity.
Yokota said he hopes other businesses start their own initiatives, but says incentives should also come with accurate information.
“It’s not mandatory that they take the vaccine but we want them to have the information necessary to make a good decision,” he said.
If Zippy’s legal team gives the idea the go-ahead, the program will officially start March 15.