Walgreens Boots heaps bonuses, rewards for pharmacists amid labor shortage

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FILE PHOTO: People are inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Walgreens store in Chicago

(Reuters) - Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc will give a one-time bonus of $1,250 to its full-time pharmacists and a $1,000 payment to part-time pharmacists, the drugstore chain said on Friday, as major retailers try to retain people amid intense labor shortage.

The company said certified or to-be certified pharmacy technicians who are responsible for administering flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be given $1,000 reward throughout a six-month retention period.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a nationwide labor shortage, resulting in companies raising wages and providing incentives to employees ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

Walgreens, CVS and other drug retailers that plan to offer booster COVID-19 vaccines are also likely to see more traffic between November and January, increasing the need to retain workers to meet this demand.

Last month, the company said it would raise the minimum wage of its staff to $15 an hour from October. U.S. retailers and restaurant companies, including Walmart and Chipotle Mexican Grill, have also raised hourly wages for employees.

The company said it was also providing an incentive of $200 myWalgreens cash to any employee who gets fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 30.

Walgreens said a majority of the staff have received their COVID-19 vaccinations and it was mandatory for support office team staff to be vaccinated or be enrolled in a regular testing program to comply with government regulation.

(Reporting by Oishee Majumdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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