Currently, Port Authority employees are not required to get the vaccine, but spokesperson Adam Brandolph says Port Authority believes the vaccine is the "most effective way to ensure the safety of our employees, their families, and our customers."
In addition to the $200 bonuses, given to those who provide proof of vaccination in the following payroll cycle, employees can also receive two days of paid time off per dose to recover from any side effects they may experience. Public transit workers became eligibility for the vaccine when Pennsylvania moved into the 1B stage of its vaccine rollout.
Port Authority is one of a growing number of organizations and companies trying to vaccinate their workforce without making the decision mandatory. Washington Post and other news outlets reported that another transportation provider, Amtrak, which took a massive hit from the pandemic, would invest millions in vaccine-related cash bonuses.
This past February, the major retail chain Target announced it would provide up to four hours of pay — two hours for each vaccine dose — to hourly team members, as well as $15 in ride-hail credits to use for getting to and from appointments. Other large chains like McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, and Dollar General also committed to providing workers with four hours of extra pay to receive their two vaccine doses.
Similar to Port Authority, some grocery store chains and hospital systems across the country are offering bonuses ranging from $100 to $500 to employees who get vaccinated.
On a local level, WPXI reported that workers employed by Allegheny County can receive $100 for getting the vaccine.
"Even though we would hope that all of our employees would want to be vaccinated without the $200 bonus, if the incentive means one extra employee gets vaccinated and that prevents one person from becoming ill or worse, dying, as a result of the virus, then it’s well worth the investment," says Brandolph of the Port Authority.