President Joe Biden is calling on every employer in America to offer full paid time off to its employees for any time they take off to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
To encourage small and medium-sized businesses to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated, Biden will announce a paid leave tax credit that will offset the costs for employers with less than 500 employees to provide full pay for any employee that needs to get a COVID-19 vaccination and to recover from the vaccination.
Catherine Lhamon the deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity at the White House, told BLACK ENTERPRISE, the move is designed to support Black and minority businesses.
“The credit applies to small and medium-sized businesses in general,” Lhamon said. “However in the last decade, minority business enterprises accounted for more than half of the 2 million new businesses started, which have created almost 5 million jobs.”
Biden initially set a goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots during his first 100 days as president. America reached that goal on day 58 of his presidency and he doubled the goal to 200 million shots, which the country has also reached.
The paid tax leave credit will offset the cost for businesses and nonprofits with less than 500 employees for up to 80 hours and up to $511 per day of sick paid leave offered between April 1 and Sept. 30.
The credit will allow employers to provide paid leave for employees to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots and any time they need to recover from the shot at no cost. Nearly half of all private-sector employees across the country qualify for the tax credit.
“This is something that we know is crucial to combating the pandemic,” Lhamon said. “Research has shown us that paid leave coverage has prevented the spread of COVID and it’s a huge priority for this administration to make sure every adult over 16 gets vaccinated.”
President Biden’s paid leave tax credit is part of a larger plan to expand paid leave more generally. The tax credit will allow employers with less than 500 employees to claim up to $17,110 for 14 weeks of paid leave for each impacted employee not only to get vaccinated, but to take time off if they have symptoms, are getting tested for COVID-19, under quarantine, or have to care for a child whose school may have closed due to COVID-19.
Paid leave is paramount to slowing the spread of COVID-19. One study shows that paid leave provisions put in place last year prevented approximately 400 COVID-19 cases per day.
The effort to get Black Americans to take the vaccine has largely worked. According to NBC News support among Black Americans to take the vaccine has grown so much that now the most reluctant demographic to take the vaccine is white Republicans.
ABC News cited a Quinnipiac University poll Monday showing 45% of Republicans do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Republicans are holding on to Trump’s skepticism of the vaccine, despite the fact that he took the vaccine and has since encouraged others to do the same.