MAGIC VALLEY — In an effort to further protect their employees, the president of Chobani announced they will be compensating their employees six hours of work pay if they chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"For us, this is just the right responsible thing to do for your employees. We want to encourage people. We don't want to mandate vaccines, but for those who want to get vaccinated, we wanted to enable that we wanted to incentivize that and facilitate that," Peter McGuinness, President and COO of Chobani, said.
Chobani's current minimum wage is $15 an hour, with an average of $19 an hour. Employees earning the average salary and who decide to get the vaccine will be receiving around $114 extra on their paycheck.
Throughout the pandemic, Chobani has donated food to healthcare workers. The company says its philosophy of putting employees first is what led them to make this decision.
"And that led us to 15 minimum wage, and it also led us to give everyone the day off to go vote because it's their civic duty. So this is just a continuation of that philosophy," Mcguinness said.
According to the Idaho state website, food and agriculture workers fall under subgroup 2.1, so most Chobani employees in Idaho will not be eligible to receive the vaccine until late February or early March unless there are other contributing factors moving them up on the priority list.
"So ultimately, when you look at the pandemic, this is a key program to ending the pandemic, and I don't think that's a debatable point. So we want to do our part to help get more people vaccinated because the more people vaccinated, the faster we end the pandemic," Mcguinness said.
With roughly 900 employees throughout Idaho, Chobani hopes this compensation will encourage employees to protect themselves against the virus.
"You have these moments. You have these challenges, and if you think about them in the right way, you'll do the right thing, and your employees will love it," Mcguinness said.