Amtrak aims to get 100% of its employees vaccinated by offering extra pay, benefits

Amtrak will offer additional pay and benefits to employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccination, the company announced this week.

According to Amtrak, the company will grant excused absences to employees receiving a vaccination during regularly scheduled work hours and will pay employees an allowance equivalent to two hours of straight-time pay.

In a press release sent to FOX News, Amtrak said the vaccine "offers the best way to keep our employees safe and contribute to the wellness of local communities, Amtrak’s goal is to have 100 percent of our employees vaccinated."

Documentation will be required to provide proof of vaccination in order to take advantage of the benefits.

Amtrak said it will also offer an excused absence and pay protection up to 48 hours after vaccination to any employee who needs to miss work due to vaccine side-effect symptoms.

"With appropriate documentation to medical services, we will also protect pay for employees who are unable to work more than 48 hours after vaccination," the press release read.

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According to FOX Business, Amtrak employed more than 18,600 workers in 2019, "but that total number is likely to be different after the railroad service was forced to furlough thousands due to the coronavirus pandemic. Updated employment numbers for the fiscal year of 2020 have yet to be published in Amtrak’s corporate profile."

"Recognizing the vaccine offers the best way to protect ourselves, loved ones, coworkers, we are doing our best to ensure all employees have vaccine access while delivering a new standard of travel for our customers," the press released continued.

According to Amtrak’s website, the national rail operator has 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces. Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day to more than 500 destinations.

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This news comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring the wearing of masks on public transportation including airports, planes, ships, intercity buses and trains.

Although Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden's order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights.

As of Thursday, more than 26.6 million Americans had tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 450,000 had died from the novel coronavirus, according to data from John Hopkins University.

FOX News and FOX Los Angeles contributed to this story.