PORT CHARLOTTE — Staff who are not vaccinated for COVID at Charlotte County Public Schools will not be eligible for $1,250 of medical insurance assistance, according to a new union tentative agreement.

The school’s website shows the one-page document, reportedly voted on by the union members on Oct. 21.

“The parties agree to the following associated with the Calendar Year 2022 only ... Offer financial incentives for employees who provide proof of vaccination for against COVID-19 as follows.”

Details lay out the deadlines for getting vaccinated.

Representatives of neither the Charlotte County Florida Educator Association nor the Charlotte County Support Personnel Association returned calls for comment from The Daily Sun.

School Department spokesman Michael Riley said he was aware of the policy, but did not have information about how it came about.

The policy is part of the health insurance company’s high-deductible option, in which the insured typically pays thousands of dollars for health care until they meet the deductible.

After that, the policy starts to pay.

Sometimes, with high-deductible plans, employers will seed the deductible account for the first — in this case — $1,250, so the employees does not pay the first dollars of the deductible.

For the COVID vaccination twist, the unions agreed that only employees fully vaccinated for COVID by a certain date would be eligible for the $1,250 seed money.

The Daily Sun reached out to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office to see if this would violate the spirit of DeSantis’ proposal to prevent employers from requiring COVID vaccination. The state legislature is meeting in special session on Nov. 15 to debate the proposed legislation.

The governor’s office did not return calls for comment.

State Rep. Michael Grant’s office spoke with The Daily Sun, but staff there said there is not enough information about the union policy to determine if it violates the intent of preventing employer mandates for COVID vaccinations.

It is not clear if this incentive payment is a new or existing policy with COVID vaccination tacked on.


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