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HR Planning for Covid-19 Vaccine

Updated: Jan 29

With two Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine likely to gain approval soon, there is hope of ramping up vaccinations against the Coronavirus. Most companies are motivated to get their employees vaccinated so they are less likely to come down sick or get others sick. With this in mind, many employers are considering the best way to get this done. The vaccine isn’t yet available to everyone, so this is the perfect time for HR to solidify a plan for Covid-19 vaccination of their workers.

HR planning for Covid-19 vaccine


The majority of employers are planning to simply encourage their employees to get vaccinated while others will attempt to make it mandatory by threatening disciplinary action or tying financial incentive to vaccinate like Trader Joe’s. Larger businesses may decide to bring in health professionals to vaccinate employees on site.


Whatever approach the company takes will require some level of planning and leaves other questions to be answered. For example, will you require remote workers to get vaccinated? Will you require employees to provide proof of vaccination? How will you handle employees who resist vaccination for religious beliefs or health reasons such as being immunocompromised?


Here are some steps that could be helpful in creating your Covid-19 vaccination strategy:


1. Information gathering


Determine when your employees will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Right now, Hawaii seniors over the age of 75 are eligible to register for vaccination. In addition, frontline essential workers are eligible to receive vaccinations through their employer or industry organizations.


Ask your employees if they are willing to take the vaccine when it becomes available. If there are employees who are feeling hesitant, ask them why and see if their concerns can be overcome.


2. Provide access to information/answers


Make sure to have an HR point person on hand – either contracted or in-house - who is up to date with Covid-19 vaccine information that can provide information to employees and answer their questions. This is an important part of encouraging employees who are on the fence to agree to be vaccinated. This point person can also assist with tasks like re-assigning employees to non-customer facing positions who refuse to be vaccinated, workers’ compensation claims or handling leaves of absences for illness.


3. Decide whether to mandate


After gathering information from employees, you will know what percentage are reluctant to take the vaccine. Based on this information, you can decide whether to simply encourage your employees to vaccinate like most businesses or to mandate vaccination. If you decide to require vaccinations, it is essential that you follow all Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on protecting workers’ rights during Covid-19. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s possible to make different rules for different types of employees. For example, an employer may choose to require vaccination for any employee who works directly with the public or who must be “on-site” to work. Any exemptions to a mandate should be clearly communicated along with options for employees who are not exempted but still refuse the vaccine.


4. Create incentives to vaccinate


The best way to get your employees motivated to get vaccinated is to lead by example (sharing when owners/managers get vaccinated) and to provide incentives. Some ideas include:

  • Paid time off to get vaccinated

  • A small bonus for every employee who gets vaccinated

  • On-site vaccination during work hours

5. Get ready to vaccinate


Once you have made decisions about how best to get your employees vaccinated, it’s time to get systems in place for when the vaccine will be available to your employees. One thing to keep in mind is that you should remain open to a change in approach, depending on how your plan is working. With any luck, this time next year we will have the pandemic under control and we can look at this uncertain time in the rearview mirror.


How partnering with a PEO can support your business during COVID-19


A PEO provides small businesses with many advantages that they might not otherwise be able to afford. These advantages have become even more important during this international health crisis.


When small business owners’ partner with Makai HR they:

  • Gain peace of mind that they are complying with all of Hawaii’s labor laws, which is especially important when decisions are being made about how to handle a health crisis.

  • Can provide comprehensive health care plans that allow your employees to go to the doctor for treatment and testing.

  • Get help with workers’ compensation claims.

We are also here to support your business if you are working remotely:

  • Our cloud-based platform means that your employees can manage their HR needs through a computer, tablet or phone, making it easier for them to work from home.

  • Our cloud based HRIS platform means that your HR team can manage HR remotely if they are sick or everyone is working remotely.

Pro tip: this is a good time to encourage all employees to update to Direct Deposit to reduce in person bank transactions and continue timely payroll payments. Do not delay. Contact us today to get started!

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