COVID vaccination incentives for city employees could cost Phoenix up to $29M

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The city of Phoenix will offer bonuses up to $2,000 to vaccinated city employees, costing the city between $25 million to $29 million.

The Phoenix City Council voted, 6-3, this week to approve the bonuses, which will go out to full and part-time employees by Jan. 18. City employees who do not have the option to work remotely already were set to receive $500 bonuses from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Councilmembers decided to grant an additional premium bonus to those same employees if vaccinated.

The approval allows the city to give an additional $1,500 bonus to full-time employees and a $750 bonus to part-time employees who are fully vaccinated by Jan. 18. The city of Phoenix will use the remaining $198 million from ARPA to fund the bonuses.

The city issued a vaccination mandate for more than 13,000 employees in November, but a federal court ruling temporarily blocked the mandate. City officials said they paused the mandate to “further explore our options regarding implementation of the requirement, should it stand” in a Dec. 7 announcement.

Councilmember Betty Guardado, who voted in favor of the measure, hopes the incentive will increase vaccination rates.

“This is money that is going to come very handy to a lot of people that are out there that continue to keep us safe,” Guardado told Fox 10.

Councilmembers Ann O'Brien, Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio voted against the measure.

DiCiccio accused the council of “politicizing” the COVID-19 vaccine in his statement at the formal meeting.

“While certain leaders were cowering in their homes, hiding from COVID, brave men and women, primarily from police and fire, were out there protecting us,” he said.

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