By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Casper city employees are now eligible for a vaccine incentive that will not only be offered to them, but extended to their family members, spouses and dependents, as well.
The Casper City Council voted 6-2, albeit informally, on Tuesday during a work session to approve the incentive program, which offers $250 to city employees (full-time, part-time and fire and emergency service workers) who are either vaccinated or get fully vaccinated by the end of the year.
However, unlike many vaccine incentive programs implemented across the state, city employees’ family members, spouses and other dependents can also receive $100 if they get fully vaccinated by the end of the year. Employees who have already been fully vaccinated can also receive an additional $50 for getting a booster shot.
The program is completely voluntary, though.
City officials are hoping that through this program, around 65% of the city staff will be vaccinated against the virus by the end of the year, they said during the city council meeting on Tuesday.
Councilman Bruce Knell was one of the two council members who voted against the incentive program.
“I am 100% against using taxpayer dollars to bribe or coerce someone to take a vaccine,” he said.
The money to pay for the incentive is coming from both the city’s CARES Act relief funds and funds from the Casper-Natrona County Health Department.
In September, the Laramie County School District No. 1, which encompasses Cheyenne, offered a one-time incentive of $500 to employees who are already fully vaccinated or are willing to undergo bi-monthly COVID tests.
In late July, the City of Cheyenne announced it would offer extra vacation hours for full-time employees or additional payroll hours for part-time and seasonal employees who were fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.
Cheyenne Regional Medical Center employees who are fully vaccinated by Oct. 31 are eligible for the following: full-time employees can receive either 16 hours of paid time off or a $600 bonus, part-time employees can receive either eight hours of PTO or a $300 bonus and PRN employees (those hired on an on-call basis) will receive a $150 bonus.
Editor’s note: The original headline said the city was implementing a mandate, when they are actually implementing a vaccine incentive. That was a mistake and we have corrected that. We apologize for the error.