Biden calls for every employee to get paid leave for vaccinations
President Biden called Wednesday for employers to give workers paid leave to get the COVID-19 vaccination while announcing that the U.S. will have administered 200 million coronavirus shots by the end of the day.
Biden unveiled a program to address the issue of American workers feeling that they can’t afford to take the time off to get vaccinated or lose a day of work because they aren’t feeling well after the shot.
“I’m calling on every employer, large and small, in every state to give employees the time off they need with pay to get vaccinated,” he said. “And anytime they need with pay to recover if they’re feeling under the weather after the shot.”
“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they choose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” the president added.
Biden specifically mentioned that grocery chain Kroger is offering workers $100 to get vaccinated, which he said has pushed the vaccination rate among its associates from 50 percent to 75 percent.
He announced that the IRS will soon post instructions on how employers with fewer than 500 employees can be reimbursed for the cost of providing paid leave for vaccinations.
“Every employee should get paid leave to get a shot. Businesses should know that they can provide it without a hit to their bottom line,” he said. “There’s no excuse for not getting it done.”
Biden had initially set a target of administering 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days, and once he surpassed that goal last month, he updated it to 200 million, which he said will be achieved on Wednesday.
He said that 90 percent of Americans now live within five miles of somewhere they can get vaccinated, and that shots are available at nearly 40,000 pharmacies.
Administration officials earlier on Wednesday said “only” 43 percent of working adults have gotten the vaccine so far. Overall, over 133 million Americans, or more than half of the adult population, have received at least one shot.
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