Before yesterday, there was a schedule of when different industries or types of employees would be eligible to receive their vaccines. However, the Governor and his council changed those rules. Going forward you will be eligible to receive a vaccine based ONLY ON YOUR AGE and not what kind of job you have.
This is VERY good news for employers. You no longer have to worry about scheduling your employees, filling out forms or anything to do with the vaccination of your employees. This is good because, unless you are in healthcare, you are not in the business of vaccinating people. It is now the responsibility of each of your employees to know when they are eligible and then to schedule their own appointments.
As an employer you have the right to ask each of your employees if they have received the vaccination and to provide you proof of such vaccination. Please keep these in a confidential file. And be super careful not to ask any other questions like…. Why have you not gotten your vaccine? Do you have a medical condition?
Should you mandate the vaccine in your workplace? We have not heard from a single pro-employer lawyer or HR professional that mandating the vaccine is a good idea. There are many reasons for this as we have explained in previous blogs. But work morale and liability issues are the most important. Strongly encouraging and using a reward system to get your employees to be compliant are the best solutions that do not leave you vulnerable for liability issues. Give them a day off with pay to get the shot, give them a small bonus or gift card, or any other positive reinforcements.
The best guess for when everyone will have access to the vaccine will be about July 1. You will not be able to enforce any kind of requirement until at least that time. You cannot enforce a vaccine that they do not have access to. We will keep you up to date on this.
So who can get it? The schedule is below. The old rules before yesterday of front line workers or people in certain industries is dust in the wind. They no longer apply. The schedule is by age only. This was seen as the most fair and easy to police strategy. If you have been planning for your essential workers, this may be frustrating, but in the end it will be much easier for you (no more registering eligible employees or scheduling them) and will leave you less liable.
The state is continuing to vaccinate individuals aged 65 or older and those in congregate facilities.
- Beginning March 1, individuals aged 55-64 will be eligible to schedule vaccinations
- Ages 45-54 will tentatively open March 22
- Age 35-44 will tentatively open April 12
- Other age brackets: May 3 (tentative)