Maryland’s state government employees are getting an extra inducement to get vaccinated against the coronavirus: $100 payments.

“With this incentive program, we are further encouraging state employees to get vaccinated to help keep themselves, their families, and their communities healthy and safe,” Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday in a statement announcing the incentive plan.

The estimated cost for the program is $5 million, according to Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci.

To receive the payments, state government employees must show proof of vaccination to their human resources office and sign an agreement to get any required booster shots over the next 18 months. Workers who already have been vaccinated are eligible, along with those yet to receive the shots. The program will cover part-time state workers and contractual state employees.

Workers in the University System of Maryland and at Morgan State University will not be eligible for the payments, as they’re already required to get the vaccine by the start of the fall semester.

The Hogan administration is exploring whether they’ll be able to use federal coronavirus relief funds to cover the cost of the incentive payments, Ricci said.

The Hogan administration said it is working with state employee unions to implement the program. Officials with the largest union representing state employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Maryland Council 3, said the detail still are being negotiated.

“AFSCME wants to ensure that all health and safety measures are taken. We have begun to bargain about this and other topics to ensure our members and the public are made safe,” said Stuart Katzenberg, director of bargaining for the union. “Too many state employees and citizens who use state services have been unnecessarily infected by the insufficient efforts of the Hogan administration.”

He added: “We look forward to continuing to bargain and getting a written agreement with the administration about vaccinations and health and safety.”

Through Monday morning, about 2.1 million Maryland residents have been fully vaccinated, out of a population of about 6.1 million. It’s unclear what the vaccination rate is among state government workers.

With more contagious strains of the virus taking hold in the United States, public health officials have raised concerns about those who refuse to get vaccinated. In response, they’ve turned to a variety of incentives to nudge people to get shots.

In neighboring West Virginia, for example, where the median age of newly infected patients has dropped to 34 years old, Gov. Jim Justice recently announced a program to give $100 savings bonds to residents aged 16-35 who get vaccinated. West Virginia is using money from the federal CARES Act to pay for the savings bonds.

In Detroit, residents who sign up for a program called Good Neighbors can receive $50 prepaid debit cards each time they take people to certain vaccine appointments.

And in New Jersey, those who are vaccinated can get a free beer at one of a dozen breweries participating in the state’s “shot and a beer” promotion.

Some private employers are offering incentives, too, including extra time off or payments to cover the cost of rides to vaccine appointments.

Live! Casino & Hotel at Arundel Mills in Hanover is offering $100 payments to workers who already are fully vaccinated or get vaccinated by June 25.

Under the federal American Rescue Plan, companies with fewer than 500 employees can get a tax credit for providing paid sick leave to workers so they can get the shots.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

(19) comments

newspostreader

I usually support Hogan but not with this. It's tax dollars not his dollars.

Riptide262

I thought that the federal government should have renamed the $1400 stimulus checks "Vaccination dividends" which would be sent out when you got your final shot. We were already spending the money so lets get some real benefit. I suspect lots of anti-vax objections would be overcome with a little cash. Vaccines are not required. Then again, neither is the vaccination dividend.

bosco

If Hogan is offering bribes to get people vaccinated, we have reached the tipping point and he may as well open things back up and let the anti-vaxxers take their chances.

C.D.Reid

Workers who already have been vaccinated are eligible. WHY????? Hogan sure is living up to his reputation as the Head RINO. He blows $9.5 M on bogus COVID test kits (and tries to keep it quiet,) and now wants to waste another $5M to entice state employees to get a vaccine that they should either already have, or are making plans to get. That's pure BS.

sevenstones1000

What was bogus about the test kits? Trump was trying to steal them, so Trump was going after bogus tests?

C.D.Reid

Are you serious seven? Are you f-in' serious? Where have you been? Hogan bought 500,000 test kits from South Korea that were flawed and could not be used. And you never heard about that? And where did you get that Trump "was trying to steal them?" Jeesh. Here, catch up on some history:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/hogan-korea-coronavirus-tests/2020/11/20/f048c1c8-251b-11eb-a688-5298ad5d580a_story.html

huskycats

francesca [thumbup][thumbup]

mgoose806

Hogan's objective to be a US Senator or President. Neither will happen.

beyoungjr

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

rogy

Reward those who’ve already been vaccinated and/or penalize those who can but won’t. Not the opposite. Pro

sevenstones1000

How about this: you get a vaccine or you lose your cushy government job and pension?

So sick of the selfish antivax snowflakes.

bosco

Florida just eliminated all of their Covid restrictions and mandates.

C.D.Reid

My guess is that most of the Maryland state employees who are "selfish antivax snowflakes" are Democrat selfish antivax snowflakes at that. That

would be kind of ironic, wouldn't it? [lol]

sevenstones1000

CD, I don’t know what you base that on, because the anti-vac trash I hear is coming from Republicans. But yeah, no vaccine, no state job. I don’t care who you are.

C.D.Reid

seven, I based my guess on the fact that Maryland has [unfortunately] evolved into a blue state. And, while I don't have any stats on the subject, my guess is that most of the state employees are Democrat. Do you disagree?

shiftless88

nationwide statistics clearly indicate that something like 80% of the anti-vaxxers are republicans.

C.D.Reid

Now, tell me what percentage of Maryland state employees are Democrat. My guess is a very large percentage is, and that was the gist behind my comment, shift.

francesca_easa

I am sorry but using Federal funds (aka taxpayer's money) to pay employees to get vaccinated is just wrong.

public-redux

Maybe they will use it to invest in a factory.

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