As the latest Supreme Court updates on the vaccine mandate have filtered through, many employers have been left questioning what is the protocol for implementing safety procedures and vaccine requirements. Our latest webinar with Blue Dream HR addressed the issue head-on and covered the state of vaccine mandates across the country and how your organization can ensure the safety of its employees while maintaining compliance.
The webinar began with a brief introduction from our speakers Jenny Nguyen-Jennings (and partner Mike Shinn) and Brett Hutchens. The goal of supplying the information needed to protect your company and people was made clear and a strong emphasis was placed on addressing the difficulties of the impact mandates have had on employee culture. Potential solutions were promised to be discussed in the duration of the presentation.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
The first topic covered in the presentation was the history of the Emergency Temporary Mandate (ETS) and how we have arrived at the current federal guidelines put in place as of January 25th, 2022. Brett emphasized that this legislation is only regarding vaccination and does not address other safety standards.
Jenny continued by explaining OSHA Standards beyond vaccination and the enforcement of the “General Duty Clause” as a layer of protection.
(Skip to 6:10 for the background and history of COVID-19 related standards)
ETS Withdrawal Pros and Cons
Jenny goes on to weigh the pros and cons of the federal ETS withdrawal. The cons discussed included longer durations of medical record-keeping, a heavier reliance on state and local safety requirements, and a lack of uniformity across states and localities.
The pros, on the other hand, included no longer being required to obtain weekly testing, no more burden of recordkeeping in industries outside of healthcare, and no requirement to compensate for time off around vaccinations.
While this is not required federally, it was emphasized that this does not mean it is not still beneficial to implement for certain organizations.
(For more on pros and cons, skip to 17:02)
RECOMMENDED NEXT STEPS
Without heavy federal guidance, there are tips that our speakers had to keep companies safe and on the same page. These included establishing company COVID-19/Infectious disease policies, communicating with your teams and addressing any concerns, as well as cleaning and sanitizing work areas.
(Skip to 20:28 for Next Steps After ETS Withdrawal)
CMS AND MANDATORY VACCINATIONS
The CMS standards apply to the healthcare industry and Brett and Jenny cover the phases of implementation for vaccination. In other industries, however, our speakers discuss how to best approach vaccination mandates at a company level and how state laws may impact what can be implemented. Some considerations include compensations, testing options, types of tests, and logistics and tracking.
(Skip to 21:46 for more on CMS and mandatory vaccinations)
CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTING A MANDATE
Unfortunately, mandating vaccinations certainly can come with its challenges. Some implications include struggling with recruitment and retention, the impact on company culture, and the perception from the public. Additionally, a mandate must include exemptions and accommodations which will need to be established and tracked.
Exemptions include medical and religious exemptions and will inevitably need to result in alternate policies such as masking, testing, remote work, or other accommodations.
(Skip to 32:11 for more on considerations)
To prevent conflict, Brett encourages culture-building! Educating and involving the staff, encouraging best practices, and even implementing incentives for all employees when applicable are a few ways to do so.
Our presenters wrap up their presentation by encouraging putting people before policy regardless of vaccination policy sentiments and answering some attendee questions.
You can click here to watch a recording of the webinar and gather the facts for yourself.
PeopleGuru’s Health Check technology helps organizations maintain compliance and keep employees healthy. Features include: maintaining vaccination and exemption status, tracking COVID testing, determining return to work eligibility, and even offering custom health screening questionnaires in the PeopleGuru app or through our proprietary kiosk.
Explore our innovative health check tool here:
This blog post was written by Alexa Rivera and may not be copied or published without PeopleGuru's express written consent.