Wayne Farms has plans to open two on-site medical clinics, adding to the two already in operation. The chicken processor with plants in five Southern states is one of many companies with operations in rural areas that provides clinics for its employees.
"We have facilities in the middle of nowhere, so if you have to see a provider it takes a very long time away from work," Helen Nelling, director of benefits and compensation for Wayne Farms told the Wall Street Journal.
Most of Wayne Farms' 9,500 employees are paid on an hourly basis, and don't receive pay for time off due to illness or doctor visits. Their attendance is also monitored, making time off for medical reasons costly on multiple levels.
But Wayne Farms makes it more affordable for employees to use its clinics than it would be to go offsite to doctors or emergency facilities. While only insured workers can use the clinics -- about two-thirds of employees are on the company-sponsored plan -- they pay $10 for a clinic visit, versus a $20 copay for offsite visits. For added convenience, said Nelling, the cost is deducted directly from a worker's paycheck.