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Got A COVID-19 Vaccine? You Get Time Off If You're A State Employee

Health care worker injects a patient's arm with the COVID-19 vaccine
Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

Most Idaho state employees are eligible to get half a day of paid leave if they get the COVID-19 vaccine over the next two months.

Gov. Brad Little announced the incentive Wednesday morning in a letter to state employees.

In it, he thanked them for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic. Little also said the COVID-19 vaccine is quote “our best tool to protect jobs, strengthen the workforce and save lives.”

All executive branch employees who’ve already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine are eligible to get four hours of paid leave. Workers who choose to get the vaccine before Aug. 31 will also get that time off.

As of Tuesday, about 47% of Idahoans 12 and older have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to state data. That’s significantly less than the 62% of Americans who have gotten at least one dose.

Idaho ranks 46th in the country for the percentage of residents who’ve received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Mayo Clinic. But no vaccine is currently approved in the U.S. for children under 12 and 25% of Idahoans are under 18 years old.

Little’s initiative doesn’t affect workers in the legislative or judicial branches. It also doesn’t apply to those who work under other elected officials in Idaho.

Those include offices of the attorney general, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state controller, state treasurer and the superintendent of public instruction.

However, the governor encouraged other parts of state government – as well as private businesses – in his announcement to consider offering a similar benefit to their employees.

Spokespeople for some of these agencies or divisions outside of the executive branch said their offices had not had conversations with Little’s office about the initiative and weren’t given a heads up that it would be unveiled Wednesday.

Those who responded to questions from Boise State Public Radio, including the judicial branch and the offices of the attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer, said they’re reviewing further information about the incentive at this time.

Note: Boise State Public Radio staff are Idaho state employees.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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