Employees: Get a Vaccination, Get a Check!
Around 40% of Americans say they will not get the Covid-19 vaccine. Yet for herd immunity to be established, the U.S. will need about 95% vaccination compliance. So how can employers encourage their employees to get the vaccine so business can return to normal as soon as possible?
It’s simple: Money.
Offering monetary incentives to employees is the best way to encourage vaccination compliance, according to a new survey from the Blackhawk Network, which showed that for as little as $100, one-third of employees will agree to get the Covid-19 vaccination.
The survey results show that many employees could be very easily encouraged to get the vaccine, if only they are compensated. It can be surprisingly cost-effective for employers to offer employees a cash reward in exchange for the jab, because if the majority of your staff is vaccinated the risk of transmission and exposure in your workplace will be greatly reduced.
Paid time off (PTO) was the second choice when employees were asked about preferred vaccine incentives. Along with receiving vaccine “bonuses,” employees said that vacation days would motivate them to get the Covid-19 vaccine. In fact, to encourage Covid inoculations among employees at its more than 650 corporate stores, McDonald’s recently announced it would give them 4 hours of PTO to get the vaccine.
But is it ethical for employers to reward employees who get vaccinated? It might sound unusual at first, but the reality is that employers have long rewarded employees with incentives like extra cash and time off in exchange for making healthy choices. So just as companies are able to offer cash incentives to workers who stop smoking or who exercise on a regular basis, it falls within the scope of an employers’ rights to offer a reward to workers who get the Covid-19 vaccination. Employers also might consider offering employees a reduced health insurance premium in exchange for getting the vaccination.
Anything employers can do to encourage their staff to get the vaccine – or at least consider the vaccine and do more research into it before saying “No” right away – will be incredibly beneficial, not only for the company’s bottom line but more importantly for saving countless lives.
Hence, companies really need to get creative about finding ways to contribute to vaccination compliance within their community, such as by offering employees a virtual presentation on the vaccine led by a member of a trusted local healthcare provider, or by asking employees to fill out an anonymous survey on their attitudes and intentions toward vaccination so employers at least can have a better idea of where their employees stand when it comes to the decision to vaccinate or not.
It’s important to note that employers can’t punish employees who will not get the vaccination, but in many cases it can be mandated by the company... meaning that employees who won’t get jabbed could face job loss.
The American Disability Act does allow for employees to abstain from vaccinations because of their medical history. And although we don’t yet know with 100% certainty if the vaccines have any side effects or could be of concern to any particular population, I think we’re going to see some employees relying on the ADA to back up their arguments for why they don’t want a Covid-19 vaccine. Employers must be prepared for this and consider how to navigate this issue without infringing on a worker’s privacy because employees do still have HIPAA rights. Also, religious exemptions will apply.
Rob Wilson is President of Employco USA, a national employment solutions firm based in Westmont, Illinois with locations across the country. For more information, call 630-920-0000 or email info@emplo yco.com.
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