September 30 – Full-time Frederick County employees will receive $ 1,000 for being fully immunized, County Director Jan Gardner said Thursday.
Eligible part-time employees will receive $ 500, and county employees who are not yet vaccinated have until Nov. 30 to do so in order to receive the incentive.
“The goal is to get people vaccinated, to ensure that we have a safe workplace for everyone, and to help protect everyone in our community, including our most vulnerable and those who cannot afford to live. get vaccinated, who are our children, “Gardner (D) said at a press briefing Thursday.
The incentive will be paid for through the first of two county’s $ 25 million American Rescue Plan Act allocations, which Congress passed in March to help states, businesses and people recover. long term of the current pandemic. If all eligible employees received the incentive, it would cost the county around $ 2.5 million, county spokeswoman Vivian Laxton said.
The price to pay may be too high for City Councilor Steve McKay, who said he was unsure whether there was enough vaccine hesitation among county employees to warrant such investment.
âI support the idea of ââencouraging county workers,â McKay (R) said. “My first reaction is that it sounds a bit rich.”
However, fellow Republican Councilor Phil Dacey said it was a worthwhile expense, especially if it influenced people who might not be ideologically opposed to getting the vaccine but simply didn’t. not given priority to obtaining or did not have time to do so.
âI like it a lot more than warrants,â Dacey said. “I hope people will respond to it.”
The county’s more than 2,400 employees will be able to update their immunization status online starting Oct. 4, and payments will start Oct. 28 and end Dec. 23, Laxton said. Only employees who are active at the time their payment is processed will be eligible for the incentive, she added.
Gardner’s announcement comes weeks after President Joe Biden (D) ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – the Department of Labor agency known as OSHA – to require employers to at least 100 workers to require their employees to get vaccinated or test negative for the virus every week, according to reports from The Associated Press. The agency has yet to release its rule, which would apply to Frederick County employees.
Frederick County is not alone in its incentive program. In early September, Anne Arundel County Manager Steuart Pittman (D) said employees in her county would also be paid $ 1,000 to be vaccinated.
In May, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that state employees would be offered a $ 100 incentive, although its effect on vaccination rates among state employees is unclear, as the state does not track vaccination rates among its employees, a Maryland Department of Health spokesperson said in an email to the News-Post.
Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan