Mandatory Vaccination FAQs
We have been getting a lot of questions recently regarding vaccinations, and especially whether employers can require them. Here are some FAQs on the subject:
- Can I require vaccination? Yes.
- Are there any limits on my right to do so? Yes. You cannot require employees to get vaccinated if they claim a mental or physical disability that would prohibit vaccination or they state that a sincerely held religious belief prohibits vaccination, unless you can show undue hardship in not requiring vaccination.
- Can I require my employees to tell me if they have been vaccinated? Yes.
- Isn’t this a HIPAA violation or otherwise impermissible? No, as long as you limit yourself to simply asking if the employee has been vaccinated, yes or no. You can also ask for proof of vaccination, but again that proof should be limited to just whether the employee has been vaccinated, such as furnishing their vaccination card.
- Do I need to pay my employees for the time they spend getting vaccinated? Probably so. If a non-exempt employee is required to be vaccinated and they get vaccinated during business hours, they should be paid for that time. But even if they get vaccinated outside of normal business hours, that probably is time worked.
- Can I otherwise favor vaccinated employees? Yes. This would include giving them extra PTO, paying for a health club membership, removing some requirements you require of non-vaccinated employees (for example, quarantine periods), and the like.
Just because you can require vaccination, does not necessarily mean you should, however. Feelings are strong regarding this subject and you may find that such a requirement is counter-productive. We routinely counsel clients on whether they should require vaccination and also what that looks like in practice.
Be safe and stay the course. And of course, let us know if we can help.