Whirlpool Corp. has announced it is offering to pay employees a $1,000 incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as pressure mounts on businesses across America to boost vaccination rates among workers.
The new vaccine incentive, confirmed by Whirlpool to CNN, comes after President Joe Biden last week announced he will direct the Department of Labor to develop a rule that companies with more than 100 employees will require vaccinations or once-per-week testing for their workers.
The new ruling could potentially affect tens of millions of U.S. private-sector employees and health care workers, and businesses that do not comply with Biden’s directive could face fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
Chad Parks, a Whirlpool spokesman, in a statement to CNN, said the vaccine bonus will apply to employees who were previously vaccinated as well as those who are newly vaccinated.
“Our employees’ health and safety remain our top priority,” Whirlpool said. “Throughout this pandemic, they have been working tirelessly to serve our consumers, who are depending on our products more than ever to clean, cook, and provide proper food and medicine storage in their homes, and we are working to ensure we can deliver.”
Whirlpool was already offering employees a smaller incentive but rolled out the new $1,000 bonus last week. Parks declined to comment on how much the previous incentive was for.
According to Bloomberg, the Michigan-based appliance maker had previously offered $200 cash bonuses to its workers in May in an effort to get them vaccinated.
Currently, 66.5 percent of Michigan’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The sharp incentive increase comes amid a rise in the number of job openings posted on the Indeed hiring platform stipulating COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment, even in sectors that don’t normally require vaccination.
In August, the number of job postings per million explicitly mentioning COVID-19 vaccine requirements rose 34 percent in the week ending Aug. 7, compared to the same period a month earlier, according to an analytical note by AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab, the research and insights division of the Indeed job site.
Meanwhile, the share of job postings stating vaccines are required but not explicitly specifying COVID-19 rose by 90 percent over the same period.
Whirlpool is just one of the latest companies to issue high incentives for employees in an effort to get them vaccinated.
Earlier this summer, Vanguard, one of the world’s largest asset managers, also offered its employees $1,000 to get a COVID-19 vaccine but stipulated that employees who are vaccinated by October are eligible for the incentive.
Kroger has said vaccinated employees will get a one-time payment of $100, while Bolthouse Farms offered a $500 bonus.
Last month Microsoft said it will require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors, and visitors to its U.S. offices starting this fall, while Facebook and Google have also recently announced that they will require workers to be vaccinated when they return to the office.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.