The President has said that vaccination will open to all adults by April 19, and the nation remains on track to purchase sufficient doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by the end of July to fully vaccinate 300 million individuals.
Not only that, but other vaccines are in the midst of testing, while eligibility and supply are increasing across the country.
In the meantime, businesses are – and have been – gearing up for a successful, and safe, return to work.
In accordance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance, it is well within an employer’s rights make vaccination a condition of employment, and to bar individuals from the office or workspace if they have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 (or if they refuse to do so). The caveat is that this ability, remains subject to exceptions regarding antidiscrimination laws (ADA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, etc.), and employers are encouraged to monitor legislative developments that may require future compliance.
All of that being said, early signs suggest few employers will choose to make vaccination mandatory. After all, more than a third of the population has said they are taking a “wait and see” approach where vaccination is concerned.
Still, business owners and employers play a pivotal part in the national vaccination strategy and its subsequent rollout. They are in a unique position to influence greater acceptance and adoption of vaccination simply by offering information on the benefits vaccination can provide, while paving the way to greater vaccination rates by providing their teams with the resources and freedom to get the shot.
Here are just three ways employers can promote vaccination, while providing greater access and peace of mind to their employees:
- Knowledge is power. Business owners should communicate honestly and transparently with their teams about benefits vaccination can provide team members, personally, as well as the business and its overall success. Employers should tap into the myriad resources available to them, such as the Centers for Disease Control’s Key Things to Know about vaccination, and Frequently Asked Questions. Additional navigation tools should be made available to provide answers regarding eligibility and access to offsite vaccination sites nearby. Doing so goes a long way toward increasing vaccine awareness and literacy.
- Making vaccination easy for your employees is the key, period. Many employers are choosing to offer paid time off to employees so that A) hourly employees don’t incur a loss when they snag a vaccination appointment that opens up spur of the moment – and B) employees can have peace of mind knowing that they can get fully vaccinated and have wiggle room should they experience any side effects.
Employers may also consider arranging for on-site vaccination at the workspace when that option is made available.
Business owners can also help to build vaccine confidence by encouraging their leaders to be “champions” who share their personal experiences with vaccination. Business owners may also choose to celebrate, recognize, and call out the decision to get vaccinated with simple promotional items like “I Was Vaccinated” sticker
- Incentivize. While guidance from the EEOC regarding incentivization has yet to be released, steps like paid time off should provide a significant boost to vaccination numbers. Employers should endeavor to find easy, efficient ways to reward the pursuit of education, the commitment, and the act of vaccination in their workplaces.
As the world navigates a new and changing landscape, Maslow Media Group can help business owners remain compliant whether moving forward with mandatory vaccination policies, or simply providing encouragement. Our team regularly helps businesses handle the complexities of state, federal, and local regulations and standards, while helping them fulfill their responsibilities. Contact us today to learn more.