Will Employers Require Covid-19 Vaccines? 5 Ideas for Establishing Firm-Vast Insurance policies.

December 16, 2020 5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.

A viable, effective and widely available vaccine against Covid-19 could soon become a reality. At best, it has the potential to eradicate this pandemic and usher in a return to some semblance of normalcy.

Managers who have optimized their “remote” teams in the past nine months now face new insecurities. Will This Vaccine End the Pandemic? Will normal business resume? Is a “return” to normalcy even a worthy goal? Should offices be reopened? Are offices a good investment not just from a health perspective, but more generally? If so, what should a company’s vaccination policy be?

For managers looking to reopen offices in the short to medium term, there are a number of points to consider when creating a company-wide policy. Should you optimize for security? If so, is a mandatory policy the best choice? Should you fire employees who refuse to be vaccinated? Are there any legal consequences for this? Should you optimize for freedom and choice? If so, should you let unvaccinated employees come into the office? Should you leave those who do not want to be vaccinated to work remotely forever? Are Unvaccinated Employees Any At Risk To Those Who Have Immunity?

There are many variables to consider – each with potentially business-breaking consequences. A policy that results in people being killed is a catastrophic risk to the lives of your employees and your company. And policies that alienate people who value their individual freedom can lead to class action lawsuits that can cripple your business.

With so much at stake, it is important to have a framework for creating a policy that can be clearly understood and adopted. Here are four pieces of advice every manager should consider when setting the course of reopening and vaccinating their business.

Start planning now

With multiple vaccines on the horizon for early 2021, it’s not too early to plan. Assess your employees to understand their values, concerns, and needs. Knowing what really matters to them is an effective way of communicating your guidelines. Separate the non-negotiable from the negotiable so that employees understand their decisions. Non-negotiable may include guidelines for safety and avoidance of political discussion of pros and cons. Items to negotiate may include the option to work from home for a period of time.

Related: Covid-19 vaccine could cause a sharp fall in the dollar

Build trust by setting a good example

It is important to lead by example when you encourage or require employees to take a vaccine. Pictures and videos can speak volumes and help to destigmatize and humanize the demands of your employees. It is imperative that you take the vaccine openly in front of the camera and show your staff that you are happy to be “first on the dance floor”. You cannot ask people to do something that you cannot do yourself, and so you should be transparent and public about your personal decision, especially given how controversial that decision has become in our highly polarizing social and political environment.

Anticipate problems

There are no easy paths ahead of us. Whether you ignore the vaccine, make it optional, promote, or make it mandatory, you will have a significant number of staff who disagree – and the disagreements are unlikely to be small. Be ready to have lots of accommodation requests. If you don’t make it mandatory, expect many employees to insist on working remotely forever. If you make this mandatory, expect employees to claim this is a civil rights issue. Train your HR department to handle these requests and now decide in advance what your policies will be as they come in. The responses to your vaccination policy are predictable. It is important that you define them now and train your staff on how to respond to them.

Related: Health Secretary Alex Azar Says All Americans Who Want A Vaccine …

Understand the law and consult your lawyers

Things change quickly so know and understand the laws, and be sure to consult your lawyers. Just because you believe a particular policy is “right” does not make it legal or immune to legal action. And even if your chosen policy is perfectly legal, it doesn’t mean you won’t be sued. Lawsuits are costly, even if you get your way, and the last thing you need is employees who won’t let you hire lawyers and run your business. This is a legal minefield, and it’s best to spend some money upfront when creating a policy rather than later after a selected policy fails.

We are breaking new ground. From a legal, health, social and financial point of view, there is no precedent for the decisions business leaders face. The final piece of advice I will repeat to you – which I share with all of my clients – is to plan now and consult with your board of directors, employees, employees, advisors and lawyers. Whichever path you choose, it will forever influence your corporate culture and you cannot “rethink” that decision. There are many decisions that are best made with speed. that’s not one of them.

Related: Moderna vaccine guarantees immunity to …

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