As coronavirus vaccines begin to roll out, some companies are faced with the question of how to best encourage their employees to get vaccinated.
One company, Best Buy, is offering a benefit.
“We are offering paid time off for any employee who gets a COVID-19 vaccination, as well as additional sick time if side effects from getting vaccinated,” the company said in a statement.
“Best Buy is not requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but strongly encourages them to consider doing so for their safety and the safety of loved ones and co-workers.”
Part-time employees will get four hours, with full-time workers getting eight hours. The time, per Best Buy, “is not time off to get the vaccination, it’s to use how employees want afterward.”
The company also announced that it will pay all of its U.S. employees a one-time bonus, for what it described as “the incredible work they’ve performed during this past year of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
"Full-time hourly U.S. employees will receive $500 and part-time U.S. employees will get $200. The bonus will go to all hourly employees who were with the company as Feb. 15, 2021, regardless of whether they are staying with us or leaving,” Best Buy said.
The company’s CEO, Corie Barry, appeared at the “virtual” CES in January and told the story of how she handled the pandemic, shortly after taking over as the company’s chief executive.
“Our hypothesis about changing lives with technology became the reality for every single person,” Barry said in the CES presentation. “Everything, overnight, became on the backs of technology.”
The company went to a curbside-only model in March, around the start of the pandemic, while stores eventually reopened with masks mandated for customers. The company raised its starting wage to $15 an hour in the summer and went on to post positive financial results in the fourth quarter.
“No matter how much you know about how you will lead in this role, you genuinely have no idea until you see the challenges in front of you,” Barry said. “There’s no way I could have walked into this job, saying ‘here’s exactly how I would lead through a pandemic.’ The pure nature of there being millions of books on leadership means no one’s done it right, no one’s done it perfectly.”
Best Buy also lost a regional rival this week, with the news that Fry’s Electronics, a consumer electronics big box store with most of its locations on the West Coast, was suddenly going out of business.
“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. . . . has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the company said on its website. “The Company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.