01 Jun Should You Consider A Workplace Vaccination Program?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employers can help increase COVID-19 vaccine rates among employees by establishing supportive policies and practices. Overall, strong confidence in vaccines at the workplace lead to more people getting vaccinated, which results in fewer COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.
As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, many employers are offering incentives for workers to get inoculated – ranging from paid time off and flexible work schedules to cash and gifts. In coordination with state and local health officials, many businesses are also establishing workplace vaccination programs.
While equity and adhering to ADA guidelines are primary concerns, many workplace vaccination sites reach essential employees who have less flexibility to visit a remote location than those working from home. In addition, companies that provide on-site shots could play an increasingly critical role in the race to vaccinate our nation’s population.
According to the CDC, businesses should consider a workplace vaccination program if they have:
- A large number of workers on site with predictable schedules.
- The ability to enroll with its jurisdiction’s immunization program as a vaccination provider or to engage an enrolled vaccination provider.
- A location with enough space to erect a vaccination clinic while maintaining social distancing through the entire process, from screening to post-vaccination observation.
Businesses should consider off-site vaccination if they:
- Are a small- or medium-sized organization that does not have the resources to host a vaccination clinic.
- Have mobile worker populations that frequently move from one job site to the next.
- Have workers with highly variable schedules.
- Have a majority of workers who would prefer vaccination in a community clinic rather than an employer-run clinic.
The planning process for hosting a workplace COVID-19 vaccination program should include input from management, human resources, employees and labor representatives, if present. Workplace vaccination clinics must offer vaccination at no charge and during work hours. They are also required to provide easy access to vaccination for all, regardless of a person’s status as a contractor or temporary employee. For specific guidance, employers should contact the health department in their jurisdiction.
If hosting a vaccination clinic at the workplace is not feasible, employers can take other steps to encourage vaccination. Recent studies indicate that using incentives could play a major role in driving vaccination rates up among employees and their family members.
Some of the incentives currently being provided by companies include:
- Offering workers two hours of their regular pay for each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine they receive.
- Allowing employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate vaccine appointments.
- Reimbursing workers who use a rideshare service up to $15 each way for their vaccination appointments.
- Covering up to six hours of time for hourly employees to get vaccinated (i.e. three hours for each dose).
- Allowing workers to take excused absences to recover from any side effects they might experience within 48 hours of receiving the shots.
- Offering employees a $100 cash bonus for getting vaccinated (or for completing an educational course if they cannot get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons).
- Offering eligible workers a $25 stipend, intended to offset the wages they might lose during the time it takes to get vaccinated.
The Food and Drug Administration does not mandate vaccination. However, whether a state, local government or employer may require COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law. The CDC offers a COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers reinforce the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine to protect the workplace.
For more information and guidance on this topic, please visit please list the CDC.