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Biden calls on employers to offer paid leave to get vaccinated

Alex Woodward
·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is calling on US employers to offer paid sick leave for people to receive a Covid-19 vaccine to encourage Americans to get their shot.

The administration will propose tax credits for small- and medium-sized businesses for “any time off needed to get vaccinated and for any time it takes to recover” after receiving a shot, the White House said Wednesday.

The paid leave tax credit will be offered to businesses with up to 500 employees for up to $511 per day. It will be offered through 30 September as part of the American Rescue Plan.

“Providing paid time off for vaccinations is an investment in the safety, productivity and health of an employer’s own workforce and their community,” the White House announced. “No working person in this country should lose a single dollar from their paycheck to take time to get the shot or recover from it.”

The announcement comes as the administration is set to reach 200 million shots within Mr Biden’s first 100 days in office. The landmark is likely to be reached by Thursday, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“What we’re trying to do now is address what we see are the barriers” after a decline in demand among Americans who are hesitant or who do not plan to get vaccinated, Psaki said on Wednesday.

Only 43 per cent of working adults are vaccinated, compared with more than 80 per cent of senior Americans, according to federal data. The White House has also pointed to a February survey from the Society for Human Resource Management that found that nearly a quarter of employees who did not plan to get vaccinated would get a shot if their employer offered time off to do so.

More than 213 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US, with a daily average of shots topping more than 3 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Roughly 133 million people have received at least one dose, and more than 86 million people are fully vaccinated, having received both required doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As of Monday, every person in the US aged 16 years and older is now eligible for vaccines in every state.

Deaths from the coronavirus crisis in the US have reached more than 564,000.

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