President Biden urges businesses to use paid leave to help workers get COVID-19 vaccines


WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged businesses to give workers paid leave to get a COVID-19 vaccine, an entreaty he made as he announced the United States met early his goal of administering 200 million shots in his first 100 days.

“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” Biden said.

With more than half of adults, and more than 80% of seniors, having gotten at least one shot, the administration is turning its attention to workers.

Only 43% of working adults have received a shot, according to an administration official, who said surveys show incentives like gift cards or paid time off can be particularly motivating.

The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed Congress last month included tax credits to reimburse small businesses for giving employees paid leave to get vaccinated or to recover from any side effects.

President Joe Biden visits a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Alexandria, Va. Evan Vucci, AP

The IRS was expected to post instructions Wednesday for how businesses can claim the credit, worth up to $511 per day off per worker. The reimbursement is available to companies with fewer than 500 workers, covering nearly half of all private sector employees.

“Businesses should know that they can provide it without a hit to their bottom line,” Biden said. “There’s no excuse for not getting it done.”

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