COVID 19 Delta Variant impact on employers staff and the workplace importance of vaccinations increase 1

By Lee Allphin, Employer Advantage Founder and Chairman of the Board

As part of Employer Advantage’s comprehensive suite of HR management and outsourcing services (HR, Payroll, Health & Benefits, Safety, and more), we are assisting our clients in determining their best path during, and after, the Coronavirus pandemic. Please contact us if you would like assistance with any of your Employee Administration and Compliance responsibilities: Info@EmployerAdvantage.com | 877.476.9520

With the slowdown of those willing to get vaccinated and the acceleration of the spread of the more-contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, businesses are struggling to achieve a balance of workplace safety without mandating vaccinations.

The health of the nation and economy are dependent upon the percentage of the population protected from COVID-19 by vaccinations, which is falling short after an initial strong kickoff in acceptance. As with most employee issues, employers must continue to communicate this important message to employees. Employer philosophy should be fact-dependent and take into consideration the composition of one’s workforce, local community spread, and a whole host of additional factors. Those already vaccinated are seeing protection from the Delta variant, while people as young as 20 years old are experiencing more severe illness, hospitalizations and even death with the Delta strain.

The following checklist is an overview of the process we use to guide our clients through the creation of a COVID-19 vaccination plan for their business:

1) Vaccine Committee

Convene a committee to suggest and develop recommendations for your business. This committee should either be comprised of, or receive input from, human resources and workplace safety representatives. The committee can serve as a central point of contact for the company program and assist in implementing the development and rollout of your plan. The committee can also assist in educating employees about the vaccine. They can direct traffic and assist employees who choose to get the vaccine on how to sign up for vaccination, identify vaccine locations, or sign up for a government registration.

2)  Effective Education Campaign

Worries over contracting COVID-19 from the vaccine, and other safety concerns, are often based on inaccurate articles or even misinformation. You can help ease some of this apprehension by providing material from the CDC, your state or local health authority, or local healthcare organizations. Accurate information and clarifications will address misinformation directly. This includes being as forthcoming as possible about likely side effects and providing information about the benefits of getting vaccinated. Employees who understand how the vaccine has been tested and its efficacy are more likely to get vaccinated. In providing access to helpful information, be mindful that employees place much more confidence in information from established healthcare authorities than political figures.

4) Vaccine Incentives

Incentives for employees to get vaccinated have become a popular tool used by businesses. If considering an incentive program to increase vaccination compliance, each employer will need to understand the potential legal risks related to wellness program rules, IRS requirements, ADA accommodations, religious accommodations, financial limitations on incentives, and notice requirements under federal law. According to several surveys, the two most popular incentive categories include cash/gifts (38%) and paid time off (30%).

5) On-Site Vaccinations

Some larger employers are establishing on-site vaccination centers, permitting healthcare personnel on their property to administer the vaccine to workers and perhaps members of the local community. On-site vaccinations are known to increase vaccination rates and reduce the time your workers would need to spend traveling to a vaccination center.

6) Plan for Post-Vaccination Issues

It is not uncommon for COVID-19 vaccine recipients to experience side effects, such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and chills, most often within 24 hours of receiving the second dose of the vaccine. You should proactively consider how to handle issues that arise.

Employees will be less inclined to get vaccinated if they believe they may have to miss work due to side effects and possibly not be paid or be forced to use their banked paid time off (PTO).

Consider not scheduling employees for the day after receiving the second dose of the Coronavirus vaccine or providing additional PTO after the second dose and be willing to extend it for employees who experience side effects for more than one day. Also consider providing a chunk of PTO to employees who voluntarily choose to get vaccinated.

Work with your staff to stagger vaccine appointments – especially the second dose – within departments or units. A staggered schedule can help avoid staffing shortages and keep your operations running.

7) Keep COVID-19 Workplace Safety Measures Firmly in Place

Require your workforce to adhere to common CDC recommendations until updated guidelines have been published.

  1. Wearing a mask over nose and mouth
  2. Staying at least six feet away from others
  3. Avoiding crowds
  4. Avoiding poorly ventilated spaces
  5. Washing hands often

See our other topical blogs that help guide businesses through workplace safety and vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic:

How Businesses can Protect Unvaccinated and At Risk Employees from COVID 19 Exposure 980x758 1

EMPLOYER GUIDANCE | How to Protect Unvaccinated and At-Risk Employees from COVID-19 Exposure

 

 

 

 

New CDC Mask Guidelines for Vaccinated Businesses Companies and Employers

IMPACT ON EMPLOYERS | What will the CDC’s New Mask Guidance Mean for Businesses?

 

 

 

 

Considerations and Consiquences of a COVID 19 Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate by Employers Businesses and Companies 1080x675 1

EMPLOYER INSIGHTS | Will Mandating COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace Have Unintended Consequences for Businesses?

 

 

 

 

Tax Credits Support Businesses Coronavirus Vaccination Efforts 1080x675 1EMPLOYER INCENTIVE | Tax Credits Available for Businesses Supporting Employee Coronavirus Vaccinations

 

 

 

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About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more, enhances your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune-500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted. www.EmployerAdvantage.com