What You Need to Know
- One question is what the clients want.
- An employer may need vaccination information to comply with quarantine or contact tracing rules.
- Providing clear, prompt guidance may help.
Employers are currently faced with a myriad of considerations regarding coronavirus policies, with the most pressing question being: as a company, do we take a stance of encouraging employees to be vaccinated or do we make this a mandatory condition of employment?
With one in four Americans still claiming they will refuse a COVID-19 vaccine if offered one, and cases on the rise in many states around the country — many of which had been in a sharp decline for much of February and March — there’s now an even greater need for widespread vaccination to end the pandemic.
The onus falls on each individual, however employers have a role to play in providing factually accurate information about the vaccine to their employees, and in many cases encouraging or even requiring the vaccine to come back to work.
Let’s explore how leadership can determine their stance on the vaccine within their organization.
Determining Factors for Encouraging Versus Requiring the Vaccine
If your clients’ business or industry allows for flexibility, such as providing workers with remote work options, or workspaces with little internal or external with coworkers, clients or the general public, they will likely have an easier time encouraging versus requiring vaccinations in the workplace.
Encouraging does not mean you may not take a strong position. You can still provide the message that ‘in accordance with our duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards, we strongly encourage employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to minimize the risk of infectious disease in our workplace’. And along with encouraging, provide the caveat that the company is not requiring all employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
For the many industries that are public facing, provide important services to the community and come into contact daily with unfamiliar personnel, the decision to mandate may be more of a requirement than an option. Although a client’s own company stance might be voluntary on vaccinations, the company may provide services to other clients or organizations whose internal vaccination policy may not mirror the company’s own. If personnel are to remain working onsite at these client locations, they may in turn be required to provide proof of vaccination to meet the clients’ requirements.
When to Require Proof of Vaccination
Requiring proof of vaccination should be carefully considered by the employer, keeping ADA guidelines in mind when making any request for either requesting personal information or sharing it with others. If used for authentic business reasons, many employers are asking employees to provide their vaccination record.
Authentic reasons may include providing a client with proof that the employee providing services meets the client’s own mandatory vaccination policy. In addition, it may be for the employer themselves, for contract-tracing purposes, to be knowledgeable of which staff members meet the CDC guidelines indicating reduced or negated quarantine periods for fully vaccinated personnel in the event they are exposed to the coronavirus either inside or outside of the workplace.
In either case, an employer should ensure that it takes proper steps to receive employee authorization prior to communicating personal vaccination information.