7 Ways Businesses Plan to Address COVID-19 Vaccinations Within the Workplace
Update: On Jan. 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to stay the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and lift the stay on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Healthcare Workers Vaccination mandate.
Our research also found that the majority of these small and midsized businesses (SMBs) — a full 79% — plan to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To do so, business leaders in the Paychex survey say they will:
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1. Stay informed.
Six in 10 SMBs in the survey said they’ll use federal, state, and local government websites for updates on the COVID-19 vaccines. It is prudent to keep a close eye on any vaccine-related developments, including evolving eligibility, as you begin developing your COVID-19 vaccination policy (and to continue to do so, as you implement it).
2. Rely on HR support.
Sixty percent of business leaders report hearing employees say they’re eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Over one-third of business leaders said information and recommendations from HR professionals on vaccine-related employer legal or compliance responsibilities would be helpful as they do so.
3. Motivate employees to get the vaccine.
Nearly 8 in ten businesses in the survey plan to motivate their employees to get vaccinated. Specifically, SMBs will:
4. Invest in tools.
More than two-thirds of all business leaders in the survey said they expect a significant or very significant investment of time, money, and technology to manage their response to the COVID-19 vaccines. The tools SMBs said they believe will be the most helpful to manage the workplace impact of COVID-19 are:
5. Track employee vaccinations.
When it comes to tracking employee vaccination status, more than 20% of companies in the survey said they will use an app or online form, or request that employees call a central help desk. The information on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Vaccination Record Card is not considered medical information by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but employers should review their state and local laws to make sure they’re in compliance with all federal, state and local requirements regarding employee medical information.
Paychex has enhanced the functionality of its Document Management tool in certain Paychex Flex® packages and for ASO and PEO customers that leverages self-service to provide vaccination tracking support. Employers can send notifications and distribute an electronic daily attestation form to employees, while employees can upload copies of their vaccination card and COVID-19 test results. Through Live Reports, administrators will be able to track employees' uploaded documentation.
6. Communicate vaccine updates with their teams.
Business leaders are committed to keeping employees informed about the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as their company’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. Some of the ways respondents said they plan to keep employees informed include: providing updates via internal emails or email newsletters; in-person meetings; phone calls or videoconferences; an internal chat system or help line; or via an internal blog, website, or resource center. Businesses should also consider designating a point-person to answer any lingering employee questions about your COVID-19 vaccination policy.
7. Offer digital options.
As businesses continue to return to work and attempt to manage employee COVID-19 vaccinations, business leaders will turn to digital tools to aid them. The programs and tools that businesses cited they plan to offer to support safety and productivity as employees return to work include:
For the latest information on laws, regulations, and guidelines surrounding COVID-19, as well as financial relief, and more, visit our COVID-19 Help Center.
This article was originally published March 31, 2021.
Employers are reminded to review applicable federal, state and local laws before tracking or requesting proof of vaccination status and to consult with legal counsel before implementing any incentives related to COVID-19 vaccinations, or paying costs associated with vaccinations.
* Paychex surveyed 300 principals of U.S. companies with 2 to 500 employees. The survey was fielded January 27-February 2, 2021.