HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Earlier this week, Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise sent an email to all county employees launching new incentives for vaccinated employees.
“It’s now $500 and two additional days off. It is for employees who get their vaccines now and for those who have previously received them,” said County Administrator Bonnie Wise.
Wise told 8 On Your Side that the decision comes as the virus has had an impact on the county workforce. She said more than 1,000 employees have been sick with the virus while more than 2,400 employees have been out on quarantine since the pandemic started.
“When we have people out for sickness or for quarantine it impacts all the other employees who are trying to deliver the services that our citizens rely on,” added Wise.
Commissioner Kimberly Overman agreed with the County Administrator and said they have been looking at ways to encourage employees to get vaccinated.
“When you’re an employer and you have 5,000 plus employees and they all have very important jobs to provide our citizens; having half of your workforce out on quarantine creates a disruption,” said County Commissioner Kimberly Overman.
Employees will need to submit their vaccine card information by Oct. 15. For those employees who choose not to get vaccinated, Wise said there are other options.
“They have an option to be tested weekly or to provide that they have the antibodies, and they can provide that information monthly. That way we know they are safe as well,” added Wise.
Commissioner Harry Cohen is hoping this new incentive will serve as another reason for employees to go ahead and get the vaccine.
“A lot of people for whatever reason have put it off, this is just an opportunity to put it back in someone’s attention. And say perhaps you want to take another look at it,” said County Commissioner Harry Cohen.
This is not the first time Hillsborough County Government has offered incentives for the vaccine. The county has previously provided employees with time off to get the vaccine, a floating holiday, and a $50 wellness incentive as part of the Well4Life program for obtaining the vaccine.