Nevada connected Thursday became the archetypal U.S. authorities to enforce a surcharge connected workers who person not gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, though the punishment doesn’t instrumentality effect until the mediate of adjacent year.
All but 2 members of the state’s Public Employees’ Benefit Program Board (PEBP) voted during a gathering to o.k. a surcharge of $55 a period connected unvaccinated workers.
The approved connection besides stipulates a surcharge of $175 a period for workers’ spouses, partners, and dependents 18 and older. That could beryllium adjusted down the road.
The surcharges volition spell into effect connected July 1, 2022.
They’ll assistance offset the costs of COVID-19 testing, Laura Rich, enforcement serviceman of the board, said.
Testing costs done September were estimated astatine $3.3 million.
The committee did not analyse the outgo of COVID-19 hospitalizations for the connection due to the fact that that would person made the surcharge for spouses and dependents “significantly higher,” Rich said. State rules barroom making the surcharge connected workers immoderate higher.
Nevada’s Department of Labor past period released guidance saying the surcharges were legal, and Rich compared them to surcharges connected smokers imposed by plans successful the past.
Exemptions are disposable for spiritual oregon aesculapian reasons, arsenic required by law.
Public commenters during the meeting, and those submitting written statements, spoke retired against the connection earlier the vote.
“I judge that the projected surcharge is inappropriate and excessive,” Ellen Crecelius, 1 subordinate of the public, said successful a statement. She noted that galore radical bask earthy immunity, oregon the extortion 1 gets aft having recovered from COVID-19.
Shanna Cobb-Adams said she already pays $255.06 a month. The caller surcharges would summation that by 90 percent. She expressed interest astir her 18-year-old lad getting a vaccine erstwhile studies amusement that young males are astatine elevated hazard of processing bosom inflammation aft getting a vaccine, portion COVID-19 poses small hazard to steadfast younker without superior underlying wellness conditions.
Another commenter noted that Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, is the 1 forcing workers to get tested play if they don’t get a vaccine. “The unvaccinated should not person to ft the measure for the agency’s unjust decisions,” she wrote. “The information is vaccinated and unvaccinated employees some tin declaration and dispersed the microorganism equally, yet the authorities has decided to lone enactment the hardships connected the unvaccinated unfairly.”
Some members besides voiced absorption to the proposal, and 2 voted against it.
Several authorities residents did enactment the measure, including 1 who said that “anti-vaxxers should wage for their prime since their state is not free.”
Sisolak’s argumentation director, DuAne Young, said that the pandemic “has been shouldered connected the load of everyone.”
“And present this peculiar burden—the testing—should beryllium shouldered connected the load of those who garbage to (be vaccinated),” Young added.
Some companies person imposed surcharges but nary states had earlier Thursday.
Discussions with entities that had imposed penalties pointed to benefits similar expanding the percent of workers who are vaccinated and offsetting rising costs, Rich said. If the committee did not o.k. the surcharges, each workers’ premium, careless of vaccination status, would request to beryllium hiked, she said.
Revenue from the surcharges is expected to beryllium astir $18 cardinal a year. Testing costs are pegged astatine ranging from $12 cardinal to $24 million.
Prior to the vote, representatives for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the Nevada Faculty Alliance said the unions were not taking a presumption connected the proposal.
Terri Laird, representing the Retired Public Employees of Nevada, said the enactment besides was neutral connected the surcharges.
But, she told members, the added costs would “burden galore employees.”