Telstra CEO Andy Penn announced the incentive to staff in an email on Monday, saying that the company had an “important nation-building role to play”

If avoiding catching and spreading a potentially deadly disease wasn’t enough motivation to get the coronavirus vaccine, this week Telstra have announced that they will offer their staff A$200 if they get the jab by the end of the year.

In an email sent by Telstra’s CEO Andy Penn on Monday, the company urged its employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The quicker we are vaccinated, the quicker we are safer and stronger economically,” Penn wrote. “That is why we have decided to reward our employees, starting in Australia, who get fully vaccinated with 200 Appreciate points (the equivalent of A$200), so you in turn can reward yourself for taking this step.”

Telstra’s internal ‘Appreciate points’ are part of the company’s internal reward and recognition system, with staff able to redeem points to purchase items of gift cards.

Customers who are already fully vaccinated will still receive the points. Staff who need to take time off to receive the vaccine will also be given paid leave. 

For now, this scheme will apply only to the company’s Australian workforce but plans to expand the initiative to Telstra’s international teams are underway. Telstra has roughly 26,000 employees; if all of these were to take up the vaccine incentive offer, the move would cost the company over A$5 million.

The incentive programme will last until the end of 2021, giving staff just over three months to get the jab.

While Telstra is not the only operator offering incentives for its employees, the potential financial investment here is notable. Other companies are taking the opposite approach, with AT&T and Microsoft among a number of companies that will make proof of vaccination a requirement for employees returning to the office. 

In related news, Telstra recently announced that they would be making their network of 15,000 payphones across Australia free to use for domestic calls, hoping to help some of the country’s most digitally disadvantaged stay connected.


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