Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Coronavirus Update 2-9-2021: Time off for the COVID-19 vaccine

At some point over the next few months, some (most?) of your employees will receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on the rules of your state, the nature of your business, and the age or medical issues of your employees, some may already have. I've previous covered the legal issues surrounding the vaccine, here, here, and here. Today I want to cover a practical issue—time-off related to the vaccination.

1/ Please offer your employees paid time off to obtain both doses of the vaccine. To reach herd immunity (the only thing that will end this pandemic), we need between 75 and 85 percent of the population to be vaccinated. We want to make it easier for employees to be vaccinated, not more difficult. Please don't make employees choose between their paychecks and a vaccine. The hour or two you will pay for the amount of time they spend getting vaccinated will pale in comparison to the weeks off they will need if they catch the virus.

2/ Understand that a certain percentage of your employees will have a reaction to the virus and be too sick to come to work in its immediate aftermath. The most common side effects, which most commonly follow the second dose, include pain at the site of the injection, painful, swollen lymph nodes in the arm where the vaccine was injected, tiredness, headache, muscle or joint aches, nausea and vomiting, fever or chills. For some, these side effects will mirror the virus itself in causing a high, debilitating fever. These side effects typically last no more than 24 hours. If I'm you, I'm telling employees that if they experience side effects you will provide a paid day off for recuperation. Again, we want to have policies that encourage employees to get shots in arms, not forcing a choice between a paycheck and a vaccine.

This pandemic won't end until enough people are vaccinated. Employers, do your part by having policies in place that encourage as many vaccinations as possible.

* Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash