Denver could offer cash bonuses for its vaccinated workers

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Workers in the City and County of Denver who got vaccinated before last week’s deadline could be in for a reward.

The mayor is looking to give workers who complied a cash bonus, and depending on the job, workers could be in for an extra payment on top of that.

Two weeks ago, the city proposed giving $400 bonuses to workers who got vaccinated. Some council members were not on board with it then, but the city’s finance department believes they will have a better chance this time around in committee Tuesday.

“Employees who were able to meet that deadline, upload their vaccination information into our system — under this proposal, they would receive a $400 payment as basically a thank you from the city for really doing their part to protect our community, themselves, their family and to be in compliance with the public health order,” said Julie Smith, the City and County of Denver’s director of communications.

Council members were concerned with the previous proposal, fearing that it left out people with approved religious or medical exemptions. Now the exempted will have meet accommodations to be considered in compliance.

“What that means is: the vast majority of people will have to be regularly tested every five calendar days, they have to do a PCR test and upload it into our system. A failure to do so would result in being out of compliance with the public health order and it would essentially trigger the disciplinary process,” Smith said.

It also means those workers would not get the $400.

However, if an employee is in compliance and also a frontline worker, the city is looking to put forth another proposal Tuesday.

Using funding from the American Rescue Plan and Cares Act, the city is looking to pay up to $2,500 in premium pay for workers who couldn’t work remotely during the months of March-December of 2020.

That could include “your recycling, the law enforcement officers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, any of your homeless shelters workers, for example, park rangers, those that are interacting with people one on one as well as handling materials from the public,” Smith said.

Other cities around the nation, like Washington D.C. and Atlanta, have already issued similar hazard payments for workers. Both of these proposals go before the committee on Tuesday and would result in payments for workers as early as Nov. 19 if they pass council.

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