Ryder System Inc. (NYSE:R) said Monday it will offer up to six hours of paid time off (PTO) to any employee who receives two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Miami-based transportation and logistics company, which employs about 40,000 people, said the PTO program will cover three hours of time off for the first vaccine and an additional three hours for those treatments requiring a second dose to complete the process.
Jonathan Mayor, a Ryder spokesperson, said the initiative is designed for workers who can’t schedule vaccination times during non-working hours.
The vaccines developed jointly by U.S. drug company Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and its German partner BioNTech, as well as by U.S. biotechnology company Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA), require two doses to be considered clinically effective. Global health authorities have recommended that the injections be spaced three to four weeks apart. However, they have also said that it is acceptable for intervals to be as long as six weeks.
Ryder said it doesn’t require that any of its employees receive the vaccine. Initial vaccine availability is prioritized for the elderly, first responders and medical and school personnel. Ryder said it is working with industry trade associations and state authorities to have its essential workers vaccinated as soon as possible.
About 30,000 Ryder workers are deemed essential to helping move products during the pandemic, Mayor said. The remaining employees are office workers, he added.
“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority, and we want to provide assurances to our workforce that they don’t need to worry about being penalized either in pay or PTO balance when getting vaccinated,” Ryder Chairman and CEO Robert Sanchez said in a statement.
Ryder becomes the latest U.S. company to financially incentivize its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Late last week, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc., which operates more than 500 truck stops and travel plazas in 41 states, said it would pay a $75 bonus to each of its 28,000 employees if they took time off to get the vaccine. Love’s workers have been classified as essential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic because they serve truck drivers moving food, medical and other goods.
Other companies following suit include Kroger Co. (NYSE:K), the nationwide grocery chain; Aldi, a Germany-based discount grocer with a large U.S. footprint; and the Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) chain.