Vaccinated PA State Employees Will Receive Extra Days of Paid Leave as Incentive

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced Monday that state employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year will be eligible to take five additional days of paid leave.

The administration said in an email to over 70,000 state employees that the additional time off will offer further support throughout the pandemic and incentivize unvaccinated workers to receive the jab, Harrisburg-based news station WHTM reported.

"Each day, millions of people rely on critical programs and services delivered by commonwealth employees. As one of the largest employers in Pennsylvania, we want to make sure our workers have the resources they need to be safe and healthy and be an example to other businesses to follow," Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome said.

"This new paid leave package is designed to continue supporting our employees during this pandemic, while also helping to end it. By encouraging commonwealth employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine and stay home if they are sick, we are increasing the safety of our workplaces, as well as our communities," Newsome added.

PA Vaccine Incentive
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said Monday that state employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year will be eligible for five additional paid days off. Here, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces administers a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on March 2, 2021, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mark Makela/Getty Images

Wolf's administration said the five days of "verification leave" can be used by state employees between December 20, 2021, and March 31, 2022. Employees who have already been fully vaccinated and verified their status will automatically receive five additional days off.

The latest announcement comes after Wolf initially said in August that vaccinated state workers can get one day of paid time off, according to the Associated Press. The administration said Monday that the new paid leave offer is "one more way we can show our gratitude to employees who step up to help us protect our communities and bring this pandemic to an end."

On Friday, Wolf tweeted an update of the state's vaccination rates, showing that nearly 72 percent of adult Pennsylvanians have received the shot. Additionally, over 91 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, bringing Pennsylvania's national ranking on first doses administered to sixth in the nation.

Pennsylvania’s daily vaccine update:

13,784,386 vaccines administered
71.6% of PA’ians 18+ fully vaccinated
91.6% of PA’ians 18+ have received at least one dose
National ranking in first doses administered: 6

— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) October 29, 2021

Pennsylvania is not the first state to offer a vaccination incentive. In July, President Joe Biden called on state and local governments to use funds from his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to offer $100 payments to individuals who receive the jab.

New York City was among the first to follow suit, offering the payments to anyone who got vaccinated at a city-run site. Ohio and Missouri have offered hefty cash prize incentives ranging from $10,000 to $1 million to some vaccinated winners.

Newsweek contacted Wolf's office for additional comment.