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  • Board of Supervisors approves vaccination disincentives for employees

    Sep 07, 2021 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Board of Supervisors at its Sept. 7 meeting approved by a 4-1 vote several financial disincentives to further encourage County employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

    At its Aug. 16 meeting, Supervisors approved incentivizing employees to be vaccinated, specifically by adding $300 to County employees’ gross pay and giving them three extra 8-hour days off. Since that vote, 4,427 employees have had their vaccination status verified by the County’s Human Resources Office, up from 2,865 in mid-August. 
    County vaccination clinic at Public Works Building
    “That means we now have 66 percent of County employees vaccinated,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. “That growth in less than a month is fairly significant.”

    Board members expressed concern, however, that some County departments still had low vaccination rates. The County Administrator said staff would work with department directors and appointing authorities of any unit with fewer than 80 percent of its employees vaccinated.

    District 1 Supervisor Rex Scott also asked that the County consider surveying employees who are vaccine hesitant or resistant to explore the reasons behind their hesitancy.

    The disincentives the Board adopted include:
    1. Required mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees;
    2. Voiding the health insurance premium healthy lifestyle discounts for unvaccinated employees, which increases premiums paid by employees by up to $35 per pay period or $910 annually; and
    3. Developing a separate health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated employees due to medical expense costs related to contracting COVID-19. An additional $25.51 surcharge will be applied to all tier levels (those with employee-only insurance, employee plus spouse, employee plus children, and employee plus family) or $663.26 annually
    Items 2 and 3 are regulated by the Affordable Care Act, which permits employers to offer up to 30 percent of the cost of health plan coverage as an incentive to participate in a wellness program. An employer may offer up to 30 percent of the total cost of the lowest cost health plan to an employee as an incentive to participate in a wellness program. Thus, the total amount that can be applied to a surcharge for any employee is $60.51 per pay period or $1,573.26 annually.

    The County Administrator emphasized the importance of having employees get vaccinated, noting that Human Resources had reported 10 COVID-19 cases among employees for the week of Aug. 29 through Sept. 3; nine were unvaccinated.

    The County expects to have the disincentives in place for employees’ first pay period in November.