GLENVILLE — The Schenectady County Legislature will vote Tuesday on approving incentives for certain employees of the county-owned nursing home if they get vaccinated against COVID.
The $200 bonus and day off would go to members of 1199SEIU, County Manager Rory Fluman said Monday. The union has already voted in favor, he said, and other employees also have been given incentives.
The move comes as the state-mandated Sept. 27 deadline draws closer for hospital and nursing home employees to have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Glendale Home already has a staffing shortage of workers in some positions and does not want to have a staffing crisis by having to lock out employees who refuse to vaccinate, Fluman said.
The county endorses and will enforce the state mandate, he added, but wants to avoid having to enforce it.
Fluman said 30 of Glendale’s 233 employees were unvaccinated as of Monday.
The push to reach those employees comes two weeks shy of the state deadline, which was announced by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in mid-August. Concerns have been raised about how New York’s healthcare system will function if large numbers of workers quit or are fired rather than get vaccinated.
Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville said Friday it would stop delivering babies because dozens of workers quit rather than get the shot.
The NYS Health Facilities Association, representing more than 450 elder-care facilities, on Monday asked the state Department of Health to allow unvaccinated workers to remain on the job with scheduled COVID testing. It said it is trying to avoid a staffing crisis among its members, most of whom say they are understaffed already.
Statewide, 78% of nursing home staff and 80% of hospital employees have been vaccinated, a state database indicates. Schenectady County is a bit higher than average at 84% and 83%, respectively.
So a significant number of healthcare workers could be locked out if the Sept. 27 deadline is enforced.
But at least one other deadline has fallen by the wayside.
The Associated Press reported last week that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office of Employee Relations quietly pushed back from Sept. 6 to Oct. 12 the deadline for about 130,000 state workers to be vaccinated or be tested weekly.