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Fully vaccinated Tyson Foods workers to get paid sick leave

Tyson Foods is now offering paid sick leave for the first time to front-line workers as the company announces 75% of employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods is offering paid sick leave for the first time to its fully vaccinated front-line workers, part of an agreement that secured union support for its mandate that all U.S. employees get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. 

The meatpacking giant said 75% of its 120,000 U.S. workers have now been vaccinated. That's up from 50% when the company announced the mandate on Aug. 3. 

Workers have until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated, but the agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers provides for medical and religious exemptions.

"These measures are the latest examples of our ongoing efforts to make Tyson the most sought-after place to work, while reinforcing the importance team members’ health and safety," said Johanna Söderström, the executive vice president and chief human resources officer of Tyson Foods.  

The new policies come on top of recent compensation improvements, which have included pay increases and other incentives as well as referral and signing bonuses. The average base pay plus benefits for Tyson’s U.S. production workers is currently valued at more than $22 per hour, which includes medical, vision and dental benefits.  

Tyson Foods is among the few companies with a large front-line workforce to impose a vaccine mandate so far. 

Many companies have taken aggressive steps to encourage workers to get the vaccines while avoiding mandates that could worsen labor shortages.

Other measures Tyson Foods is taking to support U.S. frontline workers during the vaccination process include:

  • Providing paid administrative leave for up to two weeks for employees who are fully vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19 over the next six months.
  • Compensating workers for time spent in educational sessions about the benefits and risks of the COVID vaccines.

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