New York City enacted a new mandate that is projected to affect roughly 184,000 businesses and around 3.7 million workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio is requiring all private business employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, effective December 27th. While this mandate was imposed to reduce the number of cases, it could also present legal challenges, leaving HR professionals throughout the nation with a prominent question: How can I prepare for future COVID-19 mandate compliance?
While NYC is currently the only city with a confirmed mandate, a national survey found that required workplace vaccinations should be expected in the near future. We want to help HR professionals compose an integration strategy that works for their organization. That's why we’ve composed a list of conversation-based tips to address with employees about COVID-19 mandates.
The HR profession has undergone a shift in focus since the start of the pandemic. While still rooted in managing people, there’s now a strong focus on nurturing employee well-being. According to Forbes, HR professionals should take a holistic approach to promoting health. This includes expanding workplace incentives to mental health initiatives, nutrition information, and other facets of employee/staff personal life.
This holistic approach is crucial to managing COVID-19 mandates. It shows that employees want to know how this new mandate will not only affect their work, but what it means for other aspects of their lives as well. When enforcing the mandate, consider offering open communication to your employees and staff. Some ways of fostering these conversations include:
Especially with the changing COVID-19 variants, mandates are constantly evolving to maintain safety practices. Each state decides their own practice. Some states, like New York, are already working toward establishing mandates while others, like Texas, currently preempts localities from COVID-19 mandates. It’s important to pay attention to the conversation around mandates in your state so you can have accurate information to share with employees.
You can start by:
Like everything else with COVID-19, there isn’t a clear ruling on the scope of these mandates. One element that remains a prominent point of conversation is exemptions for religious and/or medical reasons. Those that fall into the two categories could have the ability to forgo the vaccine and still maintain compliance.
Ensure that your employees know their health matters and religious beliefs will be considered. In fact, some mandates may even have options for those not able to be vaccinated such as undergoing weekly testing. Whatever the case may be, there will most likely be options that you can help employees navigate in order to stay compliant with the mandate.
As a company that specializes in HR technology needs, we understand that HR professionals have a lot on their plate. Changing mandates add to a long list of other professional strains brought about by COVID-19. Rest assured that there are ways to prepare for possible changes to your workplace. Check out our thought leadership resources and join the conversation on supporting your employees or volunteers. By collaborating with other professionals, you can find the best way to maintain compliance in your organizations.