Creating your own COVID vaccine mandate: 9 steps to a legal and efficient policy.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January that OSHA doesn't have the power to force most private-sector employers to mandate COVID vaccinations for their workers (see page 1), many companies have still decided to adopt such mandates on their own.

Some employers see vax mandates for staff as a public health duty. Others see it as a good recruiting/retention tool. Still others may be forced to mandate shots based on state or local law.

Follow this roadmap to implement your vaccine mandate:

1 Define your target audience. You can require all employees to be vaccinated or only those who regularly come into the office or interact with the public. You can exclude employees who never come into the office, either because they work from home or outdoors.

2 Decide what counts as "vaccinated." In addition to their initial one or two shots, will you also require employees to get boosters? Science says booster shots significantly improve protection against severe illness from the highly transmissible Omicron variant. So far, the FDA has approved only one round of booster shots, but it's likely an additional round will eventually get the OK.

3 Set your timeline. When must employees receive their first shot? Their second? Then boosters? Employees who take two vaccinations get them three weeks apart; the booster is usually five months later (previously six months). Assign someone to keep track of those timelines and remind employees when it's time for them to receive their boosters.

4 Set pay/leave policies. Incentivize employees to get all their shots. OSHA's now-blocked rule called on companies to pay employees for up to four hours per vaccine.

5 Determine the proof you'll accept. Employees should be required to show you their vaccination cards after every shot. Record this information and keep it confidential.

"I'd rather work for a company that requires employees to be vaccinated against COVID..." Strongly agree 39% Somewhat agree 22% Somewhat disagree 16% Strongly disagree 23% Source: Harris Poll, 2,000 U.S...

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