4.22.21 COVID-19 Bulletin: Vaccinating Your Workforce – What You Need To Know
April 22, 2021
NOTE: This post was updated with webinar links on May 8, 2022
Vaccinating Your Workforce: What You Need To Know
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is working hard to ensure employers have the information they need surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and how they can play a vital role in deploying the vaccine throughout our community.
Want to host an on-site vaccination clinic for your employees?
The BNP is working with local health departments to connect employers with opportunities to host on-site vaccination clinics for their employees and their families. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, visit our interest form HERE.
Can employers mandate employees be vaccinated?
Yes, employers can mandate that their employees get vaccinated with exceptions of employees who have medical or religious exemptions that preclude them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Can employers ask for proof of vaccination?
Yes, employers are within their rights to ask for proof that their employees were vaccinated. However, HR guidance suggestions that employers should be careful to keep confidential any medical information disclosed in these conversations.
Does an employer take on liability by hosting on onsite clinic?
No, BNP is working with government partners and regional pharmacies to facilitate on-site vaccinations. Hosting an on-site vaccination event for employees would not subject your business to additional liability, since the individuals being vaccinated would do so consensually and would sign the necessary waivers.
Are employees allowed PTO for vaccines?
Yes, New York State requires employers to provide four hours of paid leave to employees whose vaccine appointments fall during the workday. This law does not cover appointments made outside of work hours, and employers are welcome to ask employees for advance notice of vaccine appointments for scheduling purposes.
Can an employer recover expenses related to PTO for vaccines?
Yes, some employers may be eligible for a federal tax credit to cover the cost of complying with paid leave laws. The American Rescue Plan provides a paid leave tax credit to offset the cost for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees for up to 80 hours up to $511 per day of paid sick leave offered between April 1 and September 30, 2021. This tax credit will allow employers to provide paid leave for employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination and for any time their employees may need to recover from that vaccination at no cost to the employer. Details on how to claim this tax credit can be found here.
For practical resources on how to develop a vaccine strategy in the workplace and talk to employees about the importance of getting vaccinated, visit our COVID-19 Business Resources page for timely, best practice information and guides.
You can also still register for our free Preparing Your Business for COVID-19 Vaccines 3-part webisode series. The two remaining sessions are designed to assist you in understanding this complicated and ever-changing topic – See additional details and links to register below.
Join Us: Preparing Your Business for COVID-19 Vaccines – 3-Part Webisode Series
As we enter this next phase in the COVID-19 recovery and eradication, employers will have a key role to play in the WNY vaccination efforts because employers are often perceived as more trustworthy than the government.
From employee communications and segmentation to administration of the vaccines, getting shots into arms is multi-faceted and brings numerous challenges. That is why we have created this webisode series to help employers navigate this new, but critically important territory.
Attendees of each event will receive:
- Answers to key questions that businesses should consider, followed by action steps.
- Supporting resources, including templates for employee, customer and other stakeholder communications.
- Business case studies and examples from Buffalo Niagara business leaders to provide ideas and inspiration.
#1 Considerations for HR, Operations, & Senior Leaders Watch the Replay Here>
This event will provide an overview of up-to-date NYS guidance/ CDC recommendations on vaccine groups, current distribution sites, and opportunities for employers to administer vaccines. Topics include insurance coverage, herd immunity, HR issues, vaccine PTO and others information employers should know.
#2 How To: Creating a Vaccine Policy & Plan Watch the Replay Here>
Whether you decide to encourage vaccination by removing barriers, providing paid time off or offering special incentives, you should start with a written COVID-19 Vaccine Policy and a Workforce Vaccination Plan to organize your efforts. Join us for a step-by-step plan on how to do this.
#3 Communicating with Employees & Customers Watch the Replay Here>
Businesses play a key role in nationwide vaccination efforts and their employees’ and communities’ attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines, especially when it comes to education. However, employers must understand the nuances of the audience they are engaging and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. During this event, attendees will learn best practices and takeaway tools on how to best communicate to your employees and customers.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is committed to providing employers with the latest information and resources to help you deal with COVID-19 and its impact on our community, state and nation. Visit our Events and Resource pages as they are updated regularly to provide you with the most current information.
Do you have specific questions related to running your business or your business unit?Visit the BNP Business Link, a question and answer forum for, and by, the Buffalo Niagara business community. Submit your questions and get expert answers on just about any topic from legal, IT, HR, NYS regulations, sales, marketing, communications and more. It is quick, confidential, powerful and convenient.
The BNP works closely with government leaders to keep them informed of employer challenges and to advocate for policy that would ease the workforce crisis. The BNP supports legislation that expands access to education and training, makes quality childcare more accessible, removes barriers to workforce participation, and reforms our immigration system to meet our region’s workforce needs.
In the New York State Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan, the Council recommends implementing some form of carbon pricing to help the state combat climate change. So, what is carbon pricing, and how would it impact New York?
Yesterday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she would repeal the state’s mask mandate, effective today. However, her announcement did not proactively address how the repeal coincided with the NY HERO Act, which would have required employees in most workplaces to continue masking.
Today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she will NOT be renewing the state’s mask mandate, so the mandate will expire tomorrow.