Fayetteville relaunches vaccine incentive program, creates sick leave bank for city employees

Fayetteville Chief Financial Officer Paul Becker / City of Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE — The city once again has a cash incentive program to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

City Council members on Tuesday approved a plan to give anyone who lives or works in the city a $100 payment for becoming fully vaccinated over the next two weeks.

The previous incentive ended Nov. 1, but the city still has $236,900 available from the $400,000 in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) money the council approved to launch the program last fall.

The White House last year encouraged state and local governments to offer cash to people who get fully vaccinated by using ARP money. Fayetteville was given $17.9 million through the plan, and has so far received about half the money.

The eligibility period for becoming vaccinated is Jan. 18 through March 18, and does not include booster vaccinations. The last day to apply is April 1. Payment will be distributed in cash and will be available after an application has been verified and approved. The approval process can take up to five business days, and applicants will be notified once approved, according to officials. Payment must be picked up in person by April 8 at City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St., during regular business hours.

The item was on the City Council’s consent agenda for the Tuesday meeting, which means it didn’t include any discussion before a vote was taken and it wasn’t removed from consent by a council member.

» See more info or apply for the vaccine incentive program

Sick leave bank

The resolution also created a COVID-19 sick leave bank to pay city employees who test positive for the virus and miss work. It will provide compensation for 40 hours of quarantine for any city employee who cannot work from home, regardless of their vaccination status.

“Most of our employees have the capability of working from home, so those would not require (use of) the sick bank,” said Paul Becker, the city’s chief financial officer. “Essentially, the bank would be used by individuals who do not have the ability for telework.”

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided city employees with up to 80 hours of leave for COVID-related absences, but that bank expired at the end of 2020, meaning employees had to use their own personal sick days in 2021 if they tested positive for the virus, said Missy Cole, the city’s human resources director.

Funding for the leave bank would come from up to $200,000 of the city’s general fund.