Amtrak offering cash bonuses to workers who get vaccinated

The passenger railroad company is attempting to ensure the protection of its workers and customers as quickly as possible
Travelers board an Amtrak train in Nov. of 2019

Amtrak is offering $3 million in cash bonuses to workers who are willing to get the coronavirus vaccine, in an effort to speed up the guaranteed protection of its workforce and customer base.

Amtrak is a quasi-public corporation that receives a combination of state and federal subsidies but is managed as a for-profit organization. The announcement Wednesday about the cash offer follows several major U.S. companies offering financial incentives to essential workers to become inoculated against the novel virus.

"We believe the vaccine offers the best way to keep our employees safe and contribute to the wellness of local communities," Amtrak said. 

As of earlier this week, about 100 of Amtrak's 16,500 employees had received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. That figure is expected to grow quickly as vaccine distribution plans begin to add essential transportation workers to their lists of individuals eligible for the shot.

Amtrak is offering its workers the equivalent of two hours pay to get the vaccine and paid time off for the time it takes to get the vaccine. Workers will also be accommodating for any absences as a result of side effects.

Amtrak ridership plummeted 97% during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and has remained down about 75%, compared to the same time last year.