South Carolina Bill Would Penalize Businesses $7,500 Per Employee Fired over Vaccine Mandate

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 09: People gather at City Hall to protest vaccine mandates on August 09, 2021 in New York City. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that as of August 16th proof of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination will be required to attend indoor restaurants, gyms, …
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A proposed bill in the South Carolina legislature would essentially penalize private businesses in the state for each employee fired over a vaccine mandate, as it is designed to ultimately deter public and private employers from imposing such rules.

Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey’s proposal would essentially fine private companies that are forcing employees to get the shot, essentially sticking them with a roughly $7,500 tab per employee fired due to the rule. A subcommittee approved the bill last week, which is similar to a proposal passed in the House last year. However, this proposal “expands on the House’s bill by taxing private companies that terminate unvaccinated employees and prohibiting businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, medical facilities, retail stores, and entertainment venues, from denying access to unvaccinated people,” according to The State:

The Senate’s amendment to the bill, proposed by Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, would make private employers pay a surcharge for each of the next four years equal to 10 times the highest unemployment insurance tax rate, or $7,644, per employee they terminate or suspend for failing to comply with a company mandate.

Massey’s proposal includes virtually all the same provisions the House passed last year, including a ban on public employer vaccine mandates, a prohibition on student vaccination requirements, a vaccine exemption for unvaccinated people who are pregnant or can prove they’ve had COVID-19 and a requirement that vaccine refusers terminated by private businesses are entitled to unemployment.

Massey, however, made it clear that he is not comfortable interfering in the practices of private businesses, but he feels as though they have been left with no choice.

“This is not a comfortable position for me. This is not somewhere that I would normally be, it’s not somewhere that I really enjoy being,” Massey said. “But I feel like I’ve been backed into a corner.”

“I feel like I’ve gotten to the point that I’m forced to do something,” he added. “If we don’t do something, there’s nobody else.”

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is vehemently against the proposal, appealing to the state’s “long and proud tradition of allowing private sector employers to run their businesses without excessive government interference.”

“Imposing a major tax increase on employers that are attempting to make decisions that they believe is in the best interest of their businesses would run directly counter to that principle,” Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan stated.

Americans have continued to grapple with the reality of vaccine mandates, but the Supreme Court secured a major victory for roughly 84 million workers in January after striking down President Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate.


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