The Washington County Board of Directors voted Tuesday to give county employees $500 to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Public and private sector companies that employ more than 100 people have until January 4 to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly and wear face masks while on the job. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the new temporary emergency standard on November 4.
About 70 percent of the county’s 1,300 employees covered by the county’s health insurance company have been vaccinated, said Angie Nalezny, the county’s human resources director. Another 100 workers are not covered by the county’s plan, she said.
Workers who have not been vaccinated have up to 16 hours of sick leave “if they need it to get vaccinated and recover from it,” Nalezny said.
“While numerous lawsuits have been filed to prevent or delay the implementation of the vaccination mandate, regardless of the outcome of those efforts, it is in the county’s best interest to encourage as many workers as possible to get vaccinated against COVID,” said Nalezny. said.
Vaccinating additional staff can reduce the cost of a testing program if needed; reducing lost work time due to illness and/or isolation required due to exposure to a COVID, and allows the province to continue staffing critical provincial operations, she said.