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Mandatory COVID-19 Booster Policy

February 21, 2022 3130

Employer Tips

This policy template is available to employers who wish to implement a mandatory COVID-19 booster vaccine policy in conjunction with a previously established mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy. Please review the tips following tips below to ensure you remain in compliance.

Employee Exemptions

A medical condition, disability or religious reason may make employees exempt from your booster policy. In this case, you must attempt to reasonably accommodate the employee, as outlined below:

Disability/Medical Reason

You may have a qualification standard for employees who say they cannot receive the booster due to a disability or medical reason. Employers have a responsibility to ensure workplace safety and must engage in the interactive process to determine if an accommodation is appropriate to keep the employees working without creating a situation that may be harmful or unsafe for others, if at all possible, such as providing more PPE, and requiring social distancing, whenever possible. If that step is not possible, you may be able to exclude them from the workplace, but only as a last resort.

If an employer should decide to place an unvaccinated employee on unpaid leave as an accommodation, it is advisable to document the leave in writing and to place communication expectations and time limits on the leave (for example, follow up in 30 days) Keep in mind that this process is done on a case-by-case basis and excluding employees from the workplace does not mean you can terminate them.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website can be used as a resource for different types of accommodations during the interactive process. Their COVID-19 specific resources can be found here.

Religion

If you have an employee with a sincerely held religious belief against the booster, you must honor the belief with a reasonable accommodation unless it poses undue hardship, meaning significant difficulty or expense, on your business. This particular provision is tricky and may require that you seek additional guidance from the EEOC or legal counsel.

Employers may use  Use CDA's COVID-19 Booster Declination Form to document the employees requested accommodation. Please reach out to CDA Practice Support if you need assistance navigating these situations with any of your employees.

Medical Questions

Questions to employees should only be regarding the COVID-19 booster. We recommend sending employees to a third-party provider to administer the vaccine, so you don’t get caught in a sticky situation with asking medical related questions outside of the COVID-19 booster vaccine scope.

Documentation

Booster documentation should include basic information limited to whether the employee received the COVID-19 vaccine and booster. No other medical information should be included, unless required by a regulatory agency. Be sure to stay up to date with your state/municipality’s laws.

Documentation Storage

Vaccine information, written requests for accommodation and related forms should be kept separately in a confidential employee health information record, not in the employee’s personnel file.

Privacy

All employee medical information should be kept private and should not be shared with other individuals, including other employees.

Cost

If you decide to require the vaccine booster, we recommend covering all costs associated with employees receiving the vaccine booster, including the cost of the booster itself (if not otherwise covered by insurance) and the time an employee is required to be away from work to obtain the booster.

It’s important to check your state and local regulations to ensure there aren’t requirements in addition to what is included in this document. Until September 30, 2022, employers of 26 or more employees must allow up to 40 hours of 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to obtain and recover from the COVID-19 vaccine (24-40 hours dependent on appropriate documentation and situation).

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