The COVID-19 vaccine is getting us closer to a normal lifestyle pre-pandemic, but with the shot comes new concerns. Now that we’re slowly starting to return to the office, questions are circulating about whether or not employers can require workers to receive the vaccine. As with most things surrounding COVID-19, the answer is complicated.
New guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that employers have the legal right to require a vaccine. However, there is no federal law that specifically addresses this. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), private businesses and state law will ultimately decide how companies will proceed. However, religious and medical exemptions are factored into decisions.
“Whether an employer may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law,” a statement from the agency reads. Although vaccinations are up, there is still hesitancy around receiving the shot.
How do employees and employers handle the situation?
For workers with concerns about their company’s policy, it’s important to treat this like any other matter you’d bring up with human resources.
Of course, seeking medical expertise is first on the to-do list.
“If your doctor says you should get it, get it. If your doctor says you shouldn’t get it, then inform your employer that your doctor advised against it and ask for ADA paperwork to take to your doctor. But it’s not one-sided; the employer has to do its part to make sure everyone’s needs are met. In this particular case, the CDC provides businesses with tips for dealing with vaccination in the workplace.
Companies are encouraged to require easy access to allow workers to receive their vaccination and be flexible with schedules; non-punitive sick leave options are recommended for those who develop symptoms. The agency even provides tips about how to spread vaccine positivity in the workplace.
It may take some time before things are fully back to “normal” as we know it, but until then, take care of yourself and always speak to a medical professional if you have questions.
Cosmo Insurance Agency is a full-service independent insurance agency based in Hackensack (Bergen County) and Lakewood (Ocean County), New Jersey that offers an all-encompassing range of insurance options for both individuals and businesses. Cosmo keeps its promise to assure an efficient and creative approach to the services we offer. Each of our clients experience a personalized and long-term relationship with us. Our New Jersey based team of health brokers guides our clients in helping them choose the most cost-effective options. By incorporating our knowledge of the insurance guidelines for healthcare, employee benefits, life insurance, self-insurance, dental, disability, and long term care insurance, we keep our clients up-to-date with affordable plans that cover all their specific insurance needs.