Gov. Wolf offers vaccinated state employees 5 days of paid leave

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks from a podium with people behind him

File photo: Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at an event at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration told more than 70,000 state employees on Monday that it is offering five days of paid leave for getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year, quickly drawing opposition from the state treasurer over the potential cost.

The administration told employees that five days of “verification leave” can be used between Dec. 20 and March 31. An employee who has verified their fully vaccinated status to the administration will automatically receive the five days off, it said.

“This leave will help incentivize the vaccinations that protect commonwealth employees and the Pennsylvanians we serve,” the administration told employees. “It’s one more way we can show our gratitude to employees who step up to help us protect our communities and bring this pandemic to an end.”

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The administration already offers a paid day off to get vaccinated.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a Republican, called on Wolf, a Democrat, to abandon the plan. Her office said that employees who do not use the days by March 31 will be paid for them, potentially at a cost of more than $100 million to taxpayers.

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The decision is fiscally irresponsible, made in secret and without approval from lawmakers, Garrity said in a statement.

Also, there are far better uses for the money, Garrity said. House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, called the plan fiscally irresponsible and tone-deaf to people who lost jobs or businesses during the pandemic.

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