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Here’s how to convince your boss to give you paid time off to get vaccinated

Wolstein Center
Posted at 4:21 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 19:09:19-04

CLEVELAND — As of May 7, nearly 41% of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Data from the Ohio Department of Health shows the rate of new vaccinations continues to fall from its peak in mid/late March, causing some to take a closer look at the factors and barriers preventing more vaccinations.

A recent report from news partner Ohio Capital Journal points to new research from The Center for Community Solutions, a nonprofit nonpartisan think tank, shows a connection between those who remain unvaccinated, and those who work hourly jobs with an annual income below $35,000.

“This might just be one factor for folks to put off getting the vaccine,” research fellow Kate Warren said. “There were much lower rates of vaccination in zip codes where a high percentage of workers are those hourly or temporary workers.”

Warren points to employers as those with the power to increase the state’s vaccination rate, with a little help from the federal government.

How Your Company Can Benefit From Your Vaccination

As part of the American Rescue Plan, employers can take advantage of the new tax credits for businesses who provide paid leave to employees who need time off to get the vaccine and possibly recover.

“I think that’s a key part of the puzzle in encouraging more folks who are on the fence to get vaccinated,” Warren added. “What we need is employers to encourage people to get the vaccine to make their workplaces safer, to make everyone feel safer going out to businesses and out into the community.”

The IRS’s website details how companies can claim the tax credit, and how they would be credited if an employee came down with side effects from the vaccine:

The paid leave credits under the ARP are tax credits against the employer's share of the Medicare tax. The tax credits are refundable, which means that the employer is entitled to payment of the full amount of the credits if it exceeds the employer's share of the Medicare tax.

The tax credit for paid sick leave wages is equal to the sick leave wages paid for COVID-19 related reasons for up to two weeks (80 hours), limited to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, at 100 percent of the employee's regular rate of pay. The tax credit for paid family leave wages is equal to the family leave wages paid for up to twelve weeks, limited to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate, at 2/3rds of the employee's regular rate of pay. The amount of these tax credits is increased by allocable health plan expenses and contributions for certain collectively bargained benefits, as well as the employer's share of social security and Medicare taxes paid on the wages (up to the respective daily and total caps).

The tax credit currently applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. To learn more about the program and how a business can claim the tax credit, click here.