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There's a new push for employers to offer paid time off for staff to get vaccinated

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Posted at 11:14 PM, Apr 21, 2021

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — The White House is calling on employers, large and small, to make getting vaccinated easier for employees.

President Biden announced on Wednesday a new tax credit to reimburse businesses for any paid time off provided to staff to get vaccinated or recover from adverse reactions.

The paid tax credit is for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated," President Biden said Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m 100% sending my staff on the clock if they need to to go get vaccinated,” said Rachel Wilson, owner of Gigglewaters in Safety Harbor.

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Overseeing a staff of 35 people, Wilson is offering employees of the speakeasy-inspired restaurant and bar a $50 gift card when they are fully vaccinated.

“We lost a family a few months back to COVID and I know six people who have passed from it, and I just want people to be safe.”

ABC Action News checked in on Wednesday with some of Tampa Bay’s largest employers to see if they are offering incentives or paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.

Jabil employs about 2,000 people in the Tampa Bay area.

Bruce Johnson, EVP and the Chief Human Resources Officer, states, “Employees who choose to receive the vaccine are compensated for time away from work if they receive the vaccine during their scheduled work hours.”

Jabil also offered on-site vaccinations at their St. Petersburg office to all eligible staff.

According to the White House, 30 percent of unvaccinated employees in the U.S. say they are more likely to get shots if their employers offer incentives.

Wilson says having a vaccinated staff is smart for both personal health and their bottom line.

“Anytime there has been an exposure, we have to shut down and all of my people, we’re out of work. We can’t operate the business if I don’t have enough employees, and employees are hard to come by right now. So, the more I can do to just keep our staff safe just helps up operate the business," Wilson said.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County commissioners approved giving about 5,200 county employees an extra day off for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The floating holiday is an incentive for employees to get vaccinated and added support if an employee needs to take leave due to an adverse reaction after their second dose.

Commissioners also awarded county employees two additional floating holidays as a thank you for their work during a pandemic.

Those floating holidays must be taken by the end of the year.