Biden’s Vaccine Mandate: A 4-Step Path to Implementation
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President Biden’s recently implemented six-step strategy for combating the continuing surge of COVID-19 chiefly concerns itself with vaccinating the unvaccinated.

Under that strategy, OSHA (The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has created a new rule. All employers with 100+ employees must require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or complete regular COVID testing.

Those who are medically or religiously exempt are obliged to present weekly negative COVID tests before coming to work.

This strategy is there to fight against the huge number of cases that are still ravaging the U.S.

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If employees do not get fully vaccinated, they will be let go from their jobs. If employers do not enforce the rules, they will be fined up to $14,000 for each infringement.


Within the first month of this mandate, hundreds of workers in the hospital industry alone have been let go for refusing to comply with being fully vaccinated.

It is a tough policy and one that is facing plenty of backlash but it’s the law and it’s here to stay.

Below we put together a simple 4-step plan to implement the vaccine mandate at your workplace in order to comply with new OSHA requirements.

1. Keep Messaging Consistent

If your business has been deemed one in which the mandate must be implemented, it is important that you keep the messaging to your staff consistent that this is, in fact, the case. The company has no choice but to respect the letter of the law.

It should also be made clear that your business supports vaccination and takes a pro-vaccine stance. Otherwise, the mandate will not comply with company values and culture, and will confuse your employees.

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We can see that cases of COVID-19 are again surging in Fall 2021, and the states with the highest rates of COVID have the lowest rates of vaccination.

Your business should take a consistent and determined stand on the issue if this is to be implemented well.

For those still lagging behind, you can begin providing cash incentives and paid days off to incentivize the jab.

Be clear and consistent in the message that vaccination works, and so your company will be enforcing it.

2. Survey Your Employees

To understand more about your employees regarding their vaccination statuses and opinions, conduct a mandatory company-wide survey.

Find out exactly who in your company is already vaccinated and who is unvaccinated and/or unwilling to be vaccinated. You may also discover that some of your employees are unwilling to disclose this information. This context will help you know what resistance you will potentially face when you have to announce the mandate.

You can then choose whether you want to keep this information confidential or whether you want to share it on a company-wide level for transparency.

If your company already uses office management software such as Zynq, you can use the information you have stored from employee health questionnaires to inform how you move forward. You can also utilize these tools to track your employees’ vaccination progress.

3. Announce a Timeline

Announce a company-wide timeline for implementing the mandate and its changes.

Be clear and upfront about how long employees have to achieve their fully vaccinated status and what the process will be if they fail to comply.

Be clear and upfront about how long employees have to achieve their fully vaccinated status and what the process will be if they fail to comply.

Your HR department will need to decide what methods they will use to collect and maintain up-to-date employee vaccination data. Office management tools, as we discussed above, are great options.

You will also need to communicate the possible exemptions for the mandate, including religious reasons and disabilities. Employees will need to told who they need to contact to submit their exemption.

Aside from these two exemptions, you will need a strong, company-wide position on why the mandate is being followed to prepare for possible resistance and backlash. Preparing in advance by consulting lawyers who specialize in employment law will benefit your company when it comes to letting staff go.

Preparing in advance by consulting lawyers who specialize in employment law will benefit your company when it comes to letting staff go.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki reinforces that the mandate has a robust legal footing, as it is founded on a 1970s law that authorizes ETS (Emergency Temporary Standards). She states that:

"The law basically requires the Department of Labor take action when it finds grave risk to workers. And certainly, a pandemic that killed more than 600,000 people qualifies as ‘grave risk to workers."

In times where daily cases of COVID-19 are once again on the rise, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convey just how grave this risk really is right now.

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Knowing your legal footing and exactly why you are implementing such a directive will help you stay strong when enforcing such a hard-hitting mandate.

4. Prepare For Laying Off Staff

Finally, many companies can expect to have to let a number of staff members go over this issue.

We’ve seen already that some people are choosing to leave their jobs rather than get the vaccine, and it has been a contentious issue for a lot of employees in the United States.

With the emergence of many all-remote opportunities, dismissed employees may very well find a great next step in their career or join a smaller employer without a vaccine mandate.

Saying goodbye to friends and colleagues is not easy, and it is a difficult time for everyone involved. You can make this easier on your staff by empathizing with this difficult issue and always following best practice during the hiring and dismissal process.

following best practice

Looking forward, and to deal with any future potential labor shortages, the best thing you can do as a company is to implement clear vaccine requirements for new hires. Many companies have begun to do this already, which may save a lot of heartache down the line.

Implementing this mandate might be challenging for you and your company. To keep yourself motivated through trying times, remember why you’re doing it and how it is protecting people.

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