If you work at a large or midsize company, Biden’s action plan requires your boss pays you for your time spent getting vaccinated and recovering from possible side effects

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House on July 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • The White House unveiled a sweeping action plan to increase the vaccination rate in the US.
  • Employers with 100 or more workers would be required to provide paid time off for vaccinations.
  • Many unvaccinated workers previously expressed concerns that they could not afford to miss work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In a move that will impact more than 80 million workers, a new COVID-19 plan from the Biden administration would require employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing, or else be subject to $US14,000 ($AU19,004) fines.

In addition, the plan will require those same employers to offer paid time off for workers to get the vaccine and recover from any possible side effects.

Last April, Biden announced a tax credit for small businesses offering to compensate employers with 500 or fewer workers for covering an employee’s time off to get the shot and recover from it.

The rule will be developed and enforced by the Labor Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration “to ensure that no worker loses a dollar of pay because they get vaccinated.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is typical for patients to experience side effects including fever, chills, tiredness, headache, nausea, and muscle pain for up to three days following a vaccination. The CDC also says those reactions are more common with mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

In its guidance for employers, the CDC recommends staggering vaccination appointments so that a single department or business unit isn’t overly impacted in the event of adverse reactions.

A June survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation of 1,888 adults found that about two out of 10 unvaccinated employees said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if their employer gave them paid time off.

Zachary Livingston, who manages a Subway near Denver, told The Washington Post he hasn’t had the time or mental space to get the vaccine after working 60-hour weeks for months on end.

“By the time I’m out of work, it’s time to go to bed,” Livingston said.

John Jameson, who leads an advocacy group that is trying to reach vaccine-hesitant people in Colorado, told the Post that paid time off would be a game-changer, especially for low-wage workers.

“There’s no question that if people had the opportunity to just take time off from work, it would be easier to get them to take the vaccine,” he said. “If you’re in a minimum wage job and you’re worried you’re going to miss two days of work, that’s enough disincentive to keep some folks showing up for their second shot.”