To help Utah’s small businesses pay employees for time off to either receive a COVID-19 vaccine or recuperate should they experience side effects after their vaccination, $500,000 is available through the new Small Business Employee Vaccination Grant. The program, managed by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah), begins accepting applications on Nov. 16, 2021, at 9 a.m. (MST).

“We’re grateful to be able to offer the Small Business Employee Vaccination Grant to qualifying companies around the state,” said Gov. Spencer J. Cox. “We hope this will help provide the opportunity for even more Utahns to receive the important COVID-19 vaccine, especially if they haven’t been able to because of their work situation. Our hourly workers, who often do not receive paid time off, can now take up to 20 hours of paid leave, for which the state will reimburse their employers.”

Using federal CARES Act funds, and as part of Utah’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the grant offers employers reimbursement to provide paid time off for employees who are otherwise not eligible for paid time off  — typically non-benefited hourly workers. The grant may be used for both full-time and part-time employees to:

  • Receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Recuperate after receiving the vaccination
  • Take a dependent child (5-18 years old) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • Be the caregiver for a dependent child (5-18 years old) who needs assistance to recuperate after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Grants will be offered to employers until December 31, 2021, or the $500,000 grant funds are encumbered.

“Go Utah is proud to manage the Employee Vaccination Grant, and we hope that all small businesses that can will apply to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Dan Hemmert, Go Utah’s executive director. “As always, we’re thankful to Utah’s Legislature for allocating CARES Act funds to this program. We’re happy to assist in removing a potential reason not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, namely missing work to get vaccinated.”

To be eligible for the Small Business Employee Vaccination Grant, businesses must have:

  • Less than 50 full-time Utah employees who work 40 hours or more
  • One or more employees who will receive paid time off to either receive a COVID-19 vaccine or recuperate after their vaccination

“We know the possibility of missing work, either to get the vaccine or to recover from possible side effects, can be a barrier to getting vaccinated,” said Nate Checketts, executive director of the Utah Department of Health. “These grants to small businesses will help employers and employees overcome this barrier and make it easier for these employees to get their vaccinations.”

The employer must pay the employee for time off before Dec. 31, 2021. Employers have until Jan. 20, 2022, to submit applications for reimbursement.

The grant amount requested cannot exceed the amount the employer paid (entire labor burden) to the employee(s) for time off related to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or recuperating after receiving the vaccination. The grant will reimburse eligible employers for up to 20 hours per employee.

The submission of a grant application does not guarantee payment. Payments are based on the availability of grant funds and the required documentation established in the contract with Go Utah.

The grant application process opens online on Nov. 16, 2021, at 9 a.m. (MST). The grant application portal requires advance registration, which takes about one day to complete. If you’ve previously applied for a Go Utah (formerly GOED) grant, you’ll use the same credentials as before. If you need to create a user account, click here

To learn more about eligibility, required documentation, additional program details, and submit applications, click here. Any questions or inquiries about the Small Business Employee Vaccination Grant may be directed to Go Utah’s Dane Ishihara at dishihara@utah.gov.