How Aon is upping the ante to encourage COVID vaccines

As an incentive to encourage workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a handful of employers are offering workers a few hours of paid time off for inoculation–but Aon is significantly upping the ante.

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The professional services firm is offering all of its some 50,000 employees two days of paid time off for each injection, Aon tells HRE.

“We recognize there is a time commitment associated with receiving each injection and the potential recovery afterwards, and providing access to 16 hours of additional paid time off per injection means our colleagues do not need to worry about using their existing accrued paid time off if they choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Lisa Stevens, Aon’s chief people officer.

Stevens says the PTO also is a way to support employees during the new phase of the pandemic. “Our highest priority remains protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and their families. We want to support those who do wish to receive the vaccine in order to do our part to support the societal and economic recovery process,” she says. Stevens adds that, while Aon is encouraging employees to get the vaccine, it is “by no means” requiring it.

To find out more about employers’ COVID-19 vaccine strategies, don’t miss HRE’s upcoming virtual (and free!) health and benefits conference. To register, click here.

Aon declined to say how many employees have taken advantage of the offer so far.

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Aon’s incentive follows the moves of other organizations that are offering paid time off for workers, but its offer is more generous. Target is providing up to four hours of pay–two hours for each vaccine dose–to hourly employees when they get their vaccine. It also will provide all workers with free Lyft rides, up to $15 each way, to get to and from their appointments if they need it. Aldi, Dollar General, Darden Restaurants and Trader Joe’s are all offering four hours of pay total for getting the two doses.

Employers are widely seen as essential in driving up vaccination rates. As a result, a number of organizations have provided education and information to encourage workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. A number are also turning to incentives, including paid time off, and for good reason: Data from Blackhawk Network, for instance, indicates that certain incentives could boost vaccination rates among employees who are hesitant to get the shot.

Related: Inside one HR leader’s aggressive COVID-19 vaccination plan

“Anything employers can do to encourage their staff to get the vaccine, or at least consider the vaccine and do more research into it before saying ‘no’ right away, will be incredibly beneficial not only for the company’s bottom line, but more importantly for saving countless lives,” says employment expert Rob Wilson, president of employment firm Employco USA.

Read all of HRE’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage here.

Employees, too, largely are behind the idea that their employer should encourage vaccination against COVID-19. The majority of employees (57%) think employers should offer vaccine incentives to employees, and just over half (52%) think they should mandate it, according to a recent survey of 1,006 respondents from Eagle Hill Consulting.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.