Clock starts for Washington County to enforce OSHA's COVID-19 vaccination mandate [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.]
Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Nov. 16—The Washington County Board on Tuesday voted to give county employees $500 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Public and private sector businesses employing more than 100 people have until Jan. 4 to require employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly and wear a face mask while at work. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the new emergency temporary standard on Nov. 4.
About 70 percent of the county's 1,300 employees covered by the county's health insurance provider are vaccinated, said Angie Nalezny, the county's human resources director. Another 100 employees are not covered by the county's plan, she said.
Employees who are not vaccinated will have up to 16 hours of sick leave available to them "should they need it to receive and recover from vaccination," Nalezny said.
"While numerous lawsuits have been filed to prevent or delay the implementation of the vaccination mandate, regardless of the outcome of those efforts, it is in the best interest of the county to encourage as many employees as possible to be vaccinated against COVID," Nalezny said.
Having additional staff vaccinated would reduce the costs of a testing program, if required; reduce lost work time from illness and/or isolation required because of exposure to a COVID, and allow the county to continue to staff essential county operations, she said.
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