Employees of the Hudson Valley deserve the day off to get vaccinated and businesses need to step up.

As I sit here typing this article my head is pounding, my back is aching and I feel like I just need to lie down. But that's not happening anytime soon because I'm at work.

For the past year, our company has sent their praise and thanks to its on-air staff for putting themselves at risk to come into the studio every day, broadcasting maskless in a room with others just to make sure the Hudson Valley has been informed and entertained. But now, when I'm finally able to get myself a potentially life-saving vaccine, I'm left to fend for myself.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to receive my second COVID-19 vaccine. Luckily, I was able to sneak out of the office and drive the 3-hour round trip to get it while attending a meeting over my phone and responding to countless coworkers through Microsoft Teams during the afternoon.

Yes, I do have sick days and personal days that I can use when I'm not feeling well, but with the challenges of juggling childcare and work, my wife and I have stretched our time to the limit. I'm already planning how to use my remaining days this summer since it looks like camp just isn't going to happen. And, short of cutting days from my vacation, I've been forced to trudge into work today.

Luckily, my job isn't physically demanding. I sit in front of a microphone or computer and talk or type. But imagine if I wasn't a salaried worker at a cushy job? What if I was an hourly worker at a restaurant or construction site? I'd have to decide whether to power through or stay home and lose money.

I don't think my company or any of the businesses here in the Hudson Valley are purposely being cruel to their employees. They've been suffering too, and ponying up money for people not to work probably seems like a lot to ask. But businesses that have relied on their employees to get them through the pandemic, please hear me now. You have a responsibility to take care of your dedicated workers. The very least you can do is to give them time off to protect themselves with a vaccine and recover from it if necessary.

Hudson Valley business owners have been saluting their workers and using them in warm and fuzzy commercials, but talk is cheap. If you really want to show your employees how grateful you are to them for getting you through the past year, make sure they don't have to decide between getting paid and protecting themselves and their families.

Give your employees paid time off for the vaccine. It's the right thing to do.

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