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Can Our Organization Require All Our Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

By February 24, 2021April 2nd, 2021No Comments

In previous articles, we have touched on whether you can mandate that your employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Every organization must thoroughly investigate the upsides and downsides of whether to mandate the vaccine. If, after much discussion, your nonprofit decides to move forward with a mandate, there are several things to keep in mind:

1. Some organizations may have employees that are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine for a variety of reasons. The top two reasons are medical and religious.

    • Accommodations may need to be made for employees who have sincerely held religious beliefs against being vaccinated. Employees may also have medical conditions that make it potentially dangerous to receive the vaccine. With both situations, we suggest that you facilitate an interactive conversation and document that discussion. You may find that employees are eligible for a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential duties of their jobs.

2. If you require employees to be vaccinated, be prepared to pay them for their time spent getting the vaccine.

    • This typically includes mileage reimbursement and travel time pay driving to and from the vaccination site.

3. Ensure that your employees have paid time off if they experience side effects from the vaccine.

    • We are seeing organizations providing 2-5 days of PTO if employees experience adverse reactions to the vaccine. Common side effects can be sore arms at the site of the injection, chills, fever, headaches, and exhaustion.

4. Remind all employees that masks and physical distancing are still required, even if all your employees are vaccinated.

    • The CDC and OSHA recommend that we ALL continue to practice safety measures regardless of the vaccine. Some states and counties are also mandating facial coverings. Be aware of any local laws in effect.

Bottom line, we all have a responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for our employees. What is right for one nonprofit may not be right for yours. If you are contemplating the choice to mandate the vaccine, we recommend drafting a clear policy with the assistance of a licensed employment law attorney from your state.

Additional Reading

Most employers unlikely to mandate COVID-19 vaccination
Some employees would rather lose their job than get a COVID-19 vaccine
OSHA finally releases guidance on mitigating and preventing COVID-19 in the workplace
Can I get COVID-19 from a vaccine?
COVID-19 education videos from Walgreens
COVID-19 educational resources from Morehouse University School of Medicine
COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special


Remember, your Trust membership or subscriber status gives you unlimited access to HR Services. Contact us for any questions you may have regarding this subject or any other HR situation you may have.

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