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Workforce Management

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: What HR Leaders Need to Know

Legal Disclaimer: Paycor is not a legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor. This document is intended for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal information or advice. All communication from Paycor should be confirmed by your company’s legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor before making any decisions.

What is President Biden’s Latest Policy on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines?

In an effort to reduce the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, President Biden recently unveiled plans that will:

  1. Require businesses with 100 or more employees ensure workers are fully vaccinated or produce a negative COVID test result weekly before coming to work.
  2. This requirement could potentially affect 80 million workers in private businesses.
  3. OSHA will also develop a rule that requires businesses to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated if they suffer from side effects.
  4. A date has not yet been established for workers to comply with the new requirement. Paycor will continue to monitor the latest information and update this article as new details are released.

In addition, President Biden also signed an executive order that requires vaccinations for federal executive branch workers and employees of contractors that conduct business with the federal government.

How Paycor Helps

To lighten the impact of new policies on your workforce, Paycor is here to help.

  • Our forthcoming Immunization Tracker can help you manage and track immunization status of your employees. This feature will provide self-service options so employees can upload current information and documentation specific to the immunization.
  • In addition, employers can run a report to see immunization status across the organization. This update will ensure you are compliant with current employment policies.
  • Finally, Paycor’s HR Support Center offers an extensive library of SHRM-certified HR resources, including law alerts, policy templates and communication materials to help you navigate these new regulations.  

You can learn more about this new feature and the latest information on vaccination requirements in our upcoming webinar: Vaccine Mandates: What HR Needs to Know Now

Which States Have Mandated COVID-19 Vaccines for Healthcare Workers?

This announcement is the latest in a line of upcoming requirements to slow the spread of COVID-19. In mid-August, the White House announced a federal vaccination mandate for nursing home workers. Organizations that refuse to enforce the mandate may lose Medicare and Medicaid funding – the major source of funding for more than 15,000 nursing home facilities that employ roughly 1.3 million workers. At the time of the announcement, 62% of long-term healthcare workers had been vaccinated.

Many states have already mandated COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers in long-term-care facilities.

Some states have already implemented mandates for healthcare workers. For example:

  • In California, workers in healthcare facilities must show proof of full vaccination by September 30 or be subject to frequent testing.
  • In Delaware, staff in long-term care and other healthcare facilities are required to provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing. Effective September 30.
  • In the District of Columbia, all healthcare workers must receive at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (except those individuals that may be exempt due to religious beliefs or medical conditions) by September 30.
  • In Maine, an emergency rule requires healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated for COVID by October 1.
  • In New York, patient-facing healthcare workers at state-run hospitals will be required to get vaccinated by September 27. Testing is not an option.

The federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate arrives at a time when delta variant cases are spiking across the country. But, mandating vaccines for healthcare workers in long-term care and the consequences of the new federal mandate have a narrow focus on an industry already dealing with a talent shortage that critically affects the quality of care. While some leaders have praised the action, others fear turnover will increase because of the requirement. An official timeline for mandating vaccinations has not yet been established, but here are steps leaders in the healthcare industry can take to prepare.

Preparing Staff for Mandatory Vaccination Policies

During this critical time, communication is more important than ever. And even though many details are in flux, creating a communication plan can help build trust and open the door for important conversations with your staff.

  1. Develop Your Plan. Chances are you already have a vaccination and/or testing policy in place. If not, you don’t have to start from scratch. To help, we’ve provided a Sample Mandatory Vaccine Policy. Because an official federal policy is forthcoming, ensure you are prepared to create or adapt your policy to new restrictions and rules. Discuss how you will implement rules, inform, train and communicate with your employees.
  2. Communicate Early and Often. Your employees may already feel threatened by news reports on the topic. Use all available and proper channels including, email, staff meetings, posted memos and manager 1-on-1s, to discuss how the federal mandate will affect your organization; but ensure a consistent message is being delivered. As more details and timelines are provided, share regular updates with your staff.
  3. Consider the impact. This mandate could change your employees’ lives. Anticipate all kinds of reactions from pushback, confusion, to questions and frustration. Designate a vaccination policy contact, hotline, email account or team to address concerns.
  4. Determine How to Manage Compliance. Per the announcement, your compliance may affect your facility’s Medicare and Medicaid funding. It’s important to develop a plan of action for how you will manage employee records, dates of vaccination and accommodations where required. Using HCM software to manage immunization compliance can help you avoid the risk of being penalized.

We will continue to keep this article updated as policies and requirements develop. In the meantime, be sure to visit our COVID-19 Command Center. For more information on how Paycor can help, visit Paycor.com.