Get vaccinated, take two weeks off, courtesy of taxpayers | Editorial
A new program helps cement the Democrats’ reputation as wasteful spenders.
People prepare doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Martin Luther King Senior Center in North Las Vegas in February.
People prepare doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Martin Luther King Senior Center in North Las Vegas in February. [ JOHN LOCHER | AP ]
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
Published Apr. 23
Updated Apr. 23

President Joe Biden announced this week the federal government would backstop two weeks of pay for businesses whose employees suffer a reaction to the coronavirus vaccine. “No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated,” he said Wednesday while championing the program, part of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Should it really take the prospect of paid time off to arouse the patriotism of the American worker? Rosie the Riveter — where hath you gone?

The Biden Administration is offering to repay businesses for employees who need up to 80 work hours off after getting a COVID vaccination. Companies with fewer than 500 employees can apply for tax credits that cover 100 percent of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of $511 a day. That’s right — get vaccinated and take two paid weeks off, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. Patriotism has its rewards, but this is over the top.

And if patriotism is really a factor, why the need for such financial largesse? If it’s a patriotic duty, the Americans inclined to get the shot will be happy to make the personal sacrifice. And for the most part, vaccine appointments aren’t hard to come by anymore. Many vaccine sites are open early, late and on weekends.

And then there’s this: Do you know anyone who needed off 10 work days to recover from a COVID vaccination? Not from contracting the virus. No. No. Just from getting the jab in the arm? Neither do we. Lots of people feel achy for a few hours — maybe a whole day. So that’s one sick day. But the equivalent of two work weeks? That’s extremely rare.

We already have programs set up to support the miniscule number of people who suffer serious complications from the vaccine. Offering a day or two of paid leave to help people recover from the achy joints and fatigue that sometimes result from the vaccine? Sure. But 10 days? That’s excessive. It helps bolster Biden’s reputation as a wasteful spender.

This policy is so generous as to certainly attract abuse. The opportunity to malinger at home will be too much to resist for the less scrupulous among us.

Two paid weeks off after getting the jab, funded by the federal government? It’s enough to make you sick.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Paul Tash. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.