Business offering paid day off to employees to recover from COVID-19 vaccine side effects

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The CDC reports the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine should only last a day or two but could affect your ability to work.

This week, President Biden urged companies to give paid time off to employees who receive their COVID-19 vaccine if they experience negative side effects.

“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty getting vaccinated,” President Biden said.

Still, workers may choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine if it means taking a sick day without pay.

Fleet Feet in Huntsville and Madison is one business already eliminating that by offering paid time off to employees who choose to get vaccinated if they need a day to recover after getting their shot.

“We want to encourage that and if that means if you feel bad the day after you get your vaccine that we need to subsidize that payment, we’re willing to do that,” Fleet Feet co-owner Suzanne Taylor said.

Taylor said she knows firsthand possible symptoms that can accompany getting vaccinated.

“I just had a short fever, bad headaches, and general fatigue. It wasn’t anything major but it was enough to make me feel like I needed to stay home,” she said.

Between the Huntsville and Madison locations, Fleet Feet employs 49 people. Taylor said it’s better to lose an employee for one day while they recover from any vaccine side effects than 14 days because they have contracted COVID-19.

“If they expose other people to COVID then we could also lose those employees as well, so I think the risk-reward is just greater to encourage the vaccine than the other option,” she said.

Taylor said many of her employees only recently gained vaccine eligibility, so the announcement came at the perfect time.

“For the younger population, which is most of our staff, that really opened the door for them to have this opportunity, and hopefully 6 from now we’ll all feel a lot better,” Taylor said.

With the President’s announcement comes an opportunity for tax credit as part of the American Rescue Plan, which would allow businesses who employ fewer than 500 employees can apply for reimbursement for the costs associated with paying employees’ leave.

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