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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Policy

February 23, 2021

By: Lexis Practice Advisor Labor & Employment Team

Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to minimize transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in the workplace by providing protection to employees and thus preventing transmission to members of the community.

Drafting Note to Introduction

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination has been found to be both safe and effective in reducing the risk of transmission.

Policy

[Company] (the Company) requires all employees and contractors (including security) ("personnel," "staff," or "person") to maintain up-to-date vaccinations and to obtain Company-paid coronavirus (COVID-19) shots, if available and not medically contraindicated, to protect the health and safety of personnel, visitors, and the community from coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Drafting Note to First Paragraph of Policy

This paragraph describes who at the employer must maintain up-to-date vaccinations and obtain coronavirus (COVID-19) shots. If the employer also utilizes volunteers, students, interns, or other categories of workers not already identified in this paragraph (e.g., doctors and nurses if the employer is a health care organization), consider adding them to the list.

All personnel must certify that they have obtained the necessary inoculations and to maintain a copy of that certification, which employees must provide at the Company's request.

Drafting Note to Second Paragraph of Policy

Employers may require employees to provide proof of their inoculations within a specific period of time (e.g., within 30 days) rather than simply "upon request."

This is a mandatory program except for documented medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine.

Drafting Note to Third Paragraph of Policy

Under this policy, employees may decline to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) shot if they have a documented medical reason signed by the employee and a health care provider. For a form documenting an employee's decision to not obtain a coronavirus (COVID-19) shot based on medical reasons, see Declination of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination for Medical Contraindication. Use the alternate paragraph if the employer wants to let its employees know that they may decline to obtain inoculations for religious reasons.

Alternate Third Paragraph of Policy:

This is a mandatory program except for documented medical and/or religious reasons for not receiving the vaccine.

Drafting Note to Alternate Third Paragraph of Policy

A smaller number of individuals may decline to obtain inoculations for religious reasons. Use this alternate paragraph if the employer wants to let its employees know that they may do so. If an employee declines based on religious reasons, the employer should appropriately document the decision as well as the employer's response. For a request for religious accommodation form, see Religious Accommodation Request (Title VII). For a form for documenting an employer's determination of an employee's request for a reasonable religious accommodation, see Religious Accommodation Request Resolution (Title VII).

For a religious accommodation policy, see Religious Accommodation Policy. For information on religious accommodation in the workplace, see Religious Accommodation Requirements.

For information on state-specific religious accommodation issues, see Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation State Practice Notes Chart. For state-specific religious accommodation policies, see Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation State Expert Forms and Checklists Chart.

Procedures for Obtaining the Vaccine

Personnel must receive coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine provided by [Facility Name] or provide written proof of receipt of required coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine(s) from another source. Vaccine received from a source other than [Facility Name] may, or may not, be reimbursed to the staff member and payment will be at the discretion of the Company.

Drafting Note to First Paragraph of Procedures for Obtaining the Vaccine

The employer should arrange to provide coronavirus (COVID-19) shots on site if possible or otherwise at a specific location to ensure that there are enough doses available for its employees. The employer should make it as easy as possible for its employees to obtain the coronavirus (COVID-19) shots and should encourage them to obtain the shots via the means provided. The employer may choose not to reimburse immunizations received at other facilities based on the cost and/or as a disincentive to its employees to get the shots elsewhere.

New hires must present proof of coronavirus (COVID-19) immunization or will receive the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at their health screening if hire date is between [date range]. Compliance with mandatory coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination will be required no later than [date].

Exemptions from Vaccination

Only personnel meeting the medical contraindications listed below will be exempt from coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination. Contraindications are limited to specific medical circumstances.

Personnel who meet the requirements of contraindication for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination must complete a written medical declination form.

Personnel who do not receive coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination due to a medical contraindication must always wear a mask when providing services at the Company, except during scheduled breaks. (See Consequences for Noncompliance below). CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE IF YOU ARE A PRACTICAL GUIDANCE SUBSCRIBER