Hillsborough County offers $500, extra vacation days as incentives for employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

Hillsborough County is offering several incentives to its employees who get the COVID-19 vaccine.

County Administrator Bonnie Wise sent out an email Monday to employees, offering two extra "vaccine incentive leave" days as well as $500 as a "vaccination incentive" to those who show proof of vaccination.

The county had previously provided employees with time off to get the vaccine, as well as a floating holiday and a $50 wellness incentive for those who decided to get vaccinated.

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The latest push is part of the county's effort to further encourage vaccinations among its staff. The offering is for all non-union, full-time benefits-eligible employees who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Employees must submit proof of vaccination by Oct. 15 to receive the incentives. Those who already had submitted proof will automatically receive the benefits.

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County workers who do not submit proof by Oct. 15 will have to submit to weekly testing beginning Oct. 18, the county said. They will also be required to wear a mask while at work.

Another option available for unvaccinated employees is to submit proof of COVID-19 antibodies. Once proof has been submitted initially, follow-up proof of antibodies would need to be provided monthly. Weekly testing would not be required as long as the antibodies remain.