Gov. Andrew Cuomo got the ball rolling with state lottery prize tickets and free passes to New York Yankees baseball games as incentives for unvaccinated New Yorkers to get inoculated against COVID-19.
Now, the state Labor Department picked up the ball and offer a new incentive that will go directly into the pockets of vaccinated New Yorkers. The department last Thursday issued guidelines to New York employers that all workers statewide are entitled to receive paid time off to recover from the possible side effects from the coronavirus vaccination.
New Yorkers are getting vaccinated at slower rates, with statewide vaccinations recently declining 47%.
People may experience flu-like symptoms or side effects after getting their vaccine, with increased chances for more serious side effects after receiving the second dose. The side effects can be as severe as a high fever or as minimal as a little fatigue or headache. Many vaccinated people feel no side effects at all.
The state’s action was a result of a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. About 48% of unvaccinated people worry they will need to miss work from vaccine side effects, including body aches or a fever. Sixty-four percent of unvaccinated Hispanic and 55% of unvaccinated African-Americans expressed concern about getting the vaccine because of the possibility of needing to miss work.
The state’s Paid Sick Leave law will cover any necessary recovery period an employee needs after getting the vaccine, Cuomo said Thursday in a Manhattan press conference.
The key word here is “necessary.” Because the side effects are largely minor and can last anywhere from only a few hours to a couple of days in the most severe cases, employees won’t have to miss much work time. On the other hand, employers won’t need to pay inordinate sick leave time and, as a bonus, bring back workers whose health will be top-notch.
The governor and the state Labor Department have provided a win-win for employees and employers.