New EEOC guidance on vaccine mandates and incentives

June 4, 2021

On Friday, May 28, the EEOC published guidance related to COVID-19 vaccines, stating that companies can require all of their employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated so long as they provide accommodations as required under the ADA and the Civil Rights Act.

Importantly, the EEOC also reaffirmed its stance that employers can offer incentives to employees for getting vaccinated, so long as those incentives are not coercive. We applaud this decision. Vitality has been using behavioral science strategies for decades to motivate and incentivize our members to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. And we know they work!

Back in January, we shared our stance on vaccine requirements. “When it comes to encouraging people to receive the vaccine, we believe in the carrot approach in the proverbial carrot vs. stick example. Incentives, not penalties, are the way forward.”

Because we believe that receiving the vaccine is one of the most important things an individual can do for his or her health this year, we have been spent the past few months educating and encouraging our members to receive the vaccine by awarding them Vitality Points at the same incentive amount all other preventive measures are incentivized.*

The response from our members and clients so far has been tremendous, and we look forward to sharing the results.

While this long-awaited guidance from the EEOC helps employers plan for a return to the office, it does beg the question: how do employers protect their staff, balance the viewpoints and concerns of employees and avoid the risk of suit in the event COVID is spread in their workplace?

If you’re interested in learning more, we’ve created several free resources, including a blueprint for shaping behavior and encouraging vaccine take up, underpinned by a strategy playbook. Both documents are available for download in our COVID-19 resource toolkit.

What strategies have you tried to motivate vaccine uptick? We’d love to hear from you on our social media channels.  

*Points incentives may differ by client

 

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