Considering a COVID-19 Vaccinate or Test Requirement?

The state of California is the first in the nation to mandate vaccinations for health care workers and state employees. Many private companies and several large health care systems have already implemented compliance measures to vaccinate or get tested on a regular basis. Does your company need to consider these measures? Have you already developed a policy? Here are trends and points to consider.

As COVID-19 variants and the current spike in positive cases and hospitalizations prolong the pandemic, employers are contemplating additional measures to keep employees healthy. To date, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 53.2% of the population is fully vaccinated, with 62.5% having received at least one dose.  Medical professionals are in agreement that vaccinations are an important step in a long battle our nation and the world are facing.

From an employer standpoint, the question remains whether there is enough from a legal standpoint to develop and enforce a policy. And what if employees are unionized? Will unions embrace or oppose vaccination or test requirements? Is a vaccinate or COVID-19 test requirement legal? Daryl Landy, an attorney with Morgan Lewis in Costa Mesa, Calif., said, “there is substantial legal support in California and under federal law, for private employers to make vaccination a condition of hiring or continued employment, and the state’s (Calif.) recent actions should provide additional support for employers that are considering a vaccine mandate. Employers still need to consider reasonable accommodations for employees that have religious and disability-related objections.

Resources For Employers Considering Policies

In Summary

Whatever your company decides to do, employment law experts suggest giving workers a seat at the table as policies are discussed. For California, attorneys are offering these steps that can help all employers in the future.

Mini Kapoor, an attorney with Haynes and Boone in Houston, Texas, said the California order essentially requires covered employers to:[1]

  • Track and verify employee vaccination status.
  • Establish testing requirements for employees who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Comply with current masking guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which requires mask-wearing for everyone in health care and other high-risk settings and recommends that unvaccinated people in high-risk settings use respirators if they aren’t otherwise required to do so under state law. The CDPH also updated its recommendations for fully vaccinated people to resume wearing masks in public indoor settings.

Landy recommends that covered employers:[2]

  • Immediately explain the new requirements to employees.
  • Ensure the HR department is ready to evaluate and respond to accommodation requests.
  • Develop a standard process for collecting vaccination status information and maintaining the confidentiality of that information.
  • Provide information to unvaccinated workers on where and how to obtain regular testing for COVID-19.

 

[1] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/many-california-workers-must-get-vaccines-or-routinely-test-for-covid-19.aspx

[2] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/many-california-workers-must-get-vaccines-or-routinely-test-for-covid-19.aspx

 

4 Tips for Adopting a Hybrid Work Model

With coronavirus numbers continuing to change, more employers are looking for ways to bring staff back to the office while maintaining their safety. Although many employees look forward to being back at their desks and interacting with coworkers, others are not ready to return to the office. This is why many employers are creating a hybrid work model. This requires staff to work onsite at certain times while having the option to work remotely otherwise. If your organization is adopting this work style, you may need help getting started.

Use these four tips to implement a hybrid work model for your company.

1. Prioritize Mental Health

Ensure your team members stay connected while working remotely. For instance, schedule regular check-ins to see how your employees are doing and whether they have any questions or concerns. Be sure to address any issues as they come up. Also, encourage everyone to use messaging platforms to stay connected throughout the day. This promotes team cohesion and company culture. Additionally, encourage your staff members to reach out to you when they are struggling. Listen to their concerns and provide support. Refer them to the appropriate resources when needed.

2. Provide Structure with Flexibility

Determine which days of the week your team needs to be in the office. The other days can be onsite or remote. This way, you can schedule meetings when everyone is in the office. Also, your team can receive company information and be included in in-person discussions. Additionally, your employees will benefit from socialization during their breaks and lunch hour.

3. Clarify Your Expectations

Let your team know exactly what your performance standards are and how success will be measured. This includes the days and hours they are expected to be in the office and the hours during which they should be available when working remotely. Also, clarify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to determine whether your employees are staying productive when not at the office. For instance, communication may be measured by response time. Learning might be measured by the number of completed e-learning courses.

4. Gather Employee Feedback

Regularly check in with your team to see how they feel about the hybrid work model. You may want to do this through casual in-person conversations or a virtual coffee meeting. Find out what your employees like and dislike and specific ways to improve. Then, discuss your findings with leadership. Determine which ideas can be developed and implemented. Keep your team informed about the process.

Hire Hybrid Employees

Moving to a hybrid work model can be an effective solution for bringing your employees back to the office. Be sure to emphasize the importance of mental health, structure, and flexibility when creating your setup. Also, share your individual and team expectations for work performance. Additionally, find out how your team members feel about the work model. Make improvements when possible.

When you need to add hybrid employees to your team, involve Casey Accounting & Finance Resources in the process. Get more information today.