As COVID-19 vaccines roll out across the U.S., employers must determine whether they will require vaccinations in the workplace and if they should set up a program to administer them.
There are essentially three options available, according to Carrie B. Cherveny, Esq. senior vice president of strategic client solutions for the south region of HUB International.
Carrie B. Cherveny, Esq.
Employers can mandate vaccinations for all employees with some legally required exceptions; motivate and create voluntary programs with built-in motivators to drive everyone to get the vaccine; or educate staff about the vaccine and then leave it up to them to choose.
“Businesses have some really big decisions to make, and while the safety conversation that we have all been having since March 2020 was filled with a lot of nuances and choices to make, I think the vaccine conversation is even more complex and difficult to navigate,” said Cherveny. “Health care has been doing it for years, but these are new conversations and topics for other industries... This is unchartered territory.”
During a virtual panel discussion focused on “COVID-19 Vaccine in the Workplace,” Cherveny and two other representatives from HUB International, a global insurance broker, discussed some of the rules and implications when setting up a workplace program. They included Cory Jorbin, Esq. chief compliance officer, employee benefits, west region; and Wendy King, director of health and performance.
To help companies plan and develop strategies, Cherveny, Jorbin and King shared their expertise about employment law, benefits regulations and well-being best practices.
Regardless of the approach taken, Cherveny said, there are foundational things to consider.
She recommended employers determine if their culture will sustain a workplace vaccination program, the financial cost of launching a program and compliance issues, as well as whether they will be able to recruit and retain talent if they mandate a program.