As companies are starting to prepare for a return-to-work plan for their offices, they are considering incentive programs to get their employees vaccinated. In May 2021, the EEOC confirmed that employers can offer incentives to employees receiving vaccines. Here at OnSite Wellness, we are experts at incentive programs and often include them in our wellness programs. Considering incentivizing the vaccine, here are five ways you can approach a vaccine incentive program.
Financial incentives can be very effective. Many companies across the country are implementing a bonus system for getting the COVID-19 vaccine or showing proof of vaccination. For example, Vanguard is offering its employees a $1000 bonus for getting vaccinated. The EEOC guidelines do not limit the size of incentives.
Another option is providing extra paid time off. Many employers are offering PTO for each dose of the vaccination so employees can go and get vaccinated during work hours. Additionally, companies are providing PTO after being vaccinated in case their employees experience any symptoms.
Still not sure how to incentivize employees? Host an onsite vaccination at any or all of your locations. This way people don’t even have to leave work to get vaccinated. It is important to note that this option is more complicated due to ADA guidelines. Everyone who gets vaccinated must answer pre-screening questions and some of these questions are disability related. Any information obtained during the pre-screening questions must be kept confidential in accordance to the ADA. The information must be stored separate from regular personnel files.
Employers are allowed to require vaccinations under federal law and according to the EEOC. This isn’t new to COVID-19, but employers have been implementing vaccine mandates for years. There are a couple of exemptions, under Title VII employers cannot discriminate against a number of characteristics, including religion. Another exemption is recognized by the ADA if the employee’s health is at risk if they get the coronavirus vaccine. The Houston Methodist Hospital gained attention recently for requiring vaccines and were sued by some of their employees. The lawsuit was eventually tossed out, with the judge ruling in the hospital’s favor.
Mask and Testing Requirements
Another strategy that is being used for all federal employees, is making it harder to go unvaccinated. For anyone who chooses not to get vaccinated, they are required to wear masks and are subject to regular testing. By imposing these protocols, unvaccinated employees will be burdened with extra requirements that will hopefully encourage employees to become vaccinated.
Other Ways to Address Vaccinations
Use your wellness program to address this issue. You can dedicate a section of your wellness portal to sharing accurate information about the vaccine, COVID-19, and long-term effects of contracting COVID-19. You can also offer educational resources, classes, or coaching for anyone who is anxious about getting the vaccine.
If you need help implementing a vaccine incentive program at your workplace, please reach out to OnSite Wellness and we can help you set up an effective system to ensure the safety of all.