A local government in the Western Australia region will provide staff who can prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a one-time cash payment.
- Staff can claim up to $ 500 if they can prove they are fully immunized
- Shire of Manjimup CEO Andrew Campbell Says Staff Illness From COVID Could Cost Board Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
- He called on local businesses to also offer incentives to vaccinated staff
Located 300 kilometers south of Perth, Manjimup County has seen almost no cases of COVID-19, but county CEO Andrew Campbell said it was inevitable the virus was on its way.
To encourage staff to get vaccinated, the council will offer a one-time payment of between $ 300 and $ 500 to staff who can prove they are fully vaccinated by February 1, 2022.
It will cost the county up to $ 60,000.
The amount will be determined by the seniority of the staff member and the program will be non-compulsory and optional.
It follows a range of Australian companies offering incentives for their workforce to get the jab, including Qantas and a range of slaughterhouses.
Shire CEO Andrew Campbell said he provided the incentive because he was concerned about levels of coronavirus complacency within the rural community.
“To be quite frank, COVID is going to arrive in Western Australia… it will either be unintentional, through some kind of transmission, or when the borders are opened,” he said.
“COVID will come to these local communities and that is my biggest concern.
He said the program could save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted time or disruption to staff who have to be absent due to illness.
Mr Campbell said there will be no shortage of staff who have been unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
“If someone has a legitimate medical reason and can provide proof from their doctor to say they cannot get the vaccine, they will also be eligible for this payment,” he said.
So far, around 40 workers had provided their vaccination certificates, Campbell said.
Dr Katie Attwell of the University of WA, who studies Western Australia’s attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines, described the Shire of Manjimup’s approach as “really interesting.”
“I think it’s a very good strategy,” she said.
She said the incentive likely wouldn’t work on people who are strongly opposed to the vaccine.
“They are not going to change the minds of people who think very strongly that they do not want to be vaccinated.”
Dr Attwell said the cash incentive could persuade those who had not had time to get vaccinated or who were slightly hesitant.
“What incentives can be great is activating people to motivate them to go out and get vaccinated faster,” she said.
She praised the county for taking action.
“I hope others will follow their example,” Dr Attwell said.
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