Select Arkansas state employees will be getting a little extra cash if they have gotten a COVID-19 vaccination.
Executive branch state agency employees will be receiving a $100 bonus if they have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “When I say that it’s a $100, that’s net to them, so it’s really going to be a $200 bonus, but with withholding taxes, we wanted them to get at least $100 in their hands. It will be $100 cash – check to executive branch state agency employees who get at least one COVID-19 vaccination,” he said.
This bonus could impact 25,772 state employees in Arkansas.
Hutchinson said that a 70 percent vaccination rate of state employees would cost approximately $3.6 million. Currently, 43.7 percent of state employees have been vaccinated.
The costs of the bonuses are expected to be covered individual agencies and later by the federal government’s American Rescue Plan funding. “This will be absorbed by our agencies in their ordinary budget in personnel costs. We do want to get this reimbursed by American Rescue Plan funds, so that will be the plan to have this covered in the long term,” Hutchinson said.
Checks for eligible state employees are expected to go out after July 1 when the start of the new fiscal year.
Hutchinson told reporters that there have been discussions with other state government agencies about the bonus program and there was interest in it. “I hope that many other of the different departments and employers in state government will embrace this as well to really enhance the opportunity and incentives for our workers to get vaccinated,” he said.