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Wolf Administration Announces Additional Leave to Support Commonwealth Employees During the Pandemic and Encourage Vaccination

11/01/2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced additional paid leave for commonwealth employees under the Governor's jurisdiction for reasons related to COVID-19 and to encourage vaccination. This additional leave will help support the commonwealth's workforce through the ongoing pandemic and incentivize vaccination, which protects commonwealth employees and the Pennsylvanians they serve.

"Each day, millions of people rely on critical programs and services delivered by commonwealth employees. As one of the largest employers in Pennsylvania, we want to make sure our workers have the resources they need to be safe and healthy and be an example to other businesses to follow," said Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome. "Most of our employees, approximately two-thirds, have worked in-person throughout the pandemic and continue to do so. This new paid leave package is designed to continue supporting our employees during this pandemic, while also helping to end it. By encouraging commonwealth employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine and stay home if they are sick, we are increasing the safety of our workplaces, as well as our communities."

Extension of COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Unused COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave for commonwealth employees is being extended to June 30, 2022, due to the ongoing pandemic. Employees may use this leave when they are subject to, or caring for someone who is subject to, quarantine or isolation orders due to COVID-19, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection or experiencing side effects of COVID-19 vaccine inoculations.

Paid Leave for Being Vaccinated

Eligible employees who have received both doses of a CDC-approved two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of single-dose vaccine by December 31, 2021 can take up to five days of paid time off (Verification Leave) between December 20, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Employees do not have to wait 14 days after their last dose to be considered vaccinated for the purposes of receiving the incentive. Any Verification Leave unused by March 31, 2022, will be paid as a lump sum.

In August, Governor Wolf announced the first commonwealth employee vaccine incentive of 7.5/8 hours of paid time off (Administrative Leave), as well as a "vaccine or test" requirement in health care and congregate care facilities. Any employee who has already verified their vaccination status to receive this paid day off will automatically receive the additional five days of leave.

As with the Administrative Leave incentive, the additional leave is available to eligible management/non-represented employees and represented employees (regardless of membership) whose unions agree to participate.

"Our unions have been vital partners in helping commonwealth employees safely navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to AFSCME Council 13 and the other participating unions for working to help the administration provide these important leave opportunities and thank you for working so hard to support the health and safety of commonwealth employees throughout the pandemic," said Newsome.

As of Friday, October 29, more than 71.6% of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, with the state ranking fifth among all 50 states for total doses administered.

All Pennsylvanians age s 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use the Vaccine Finder to locate a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dan Egan, degan@pa.gov

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