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Status of Vaccine Incentives to Workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance in late May indicating that employers can offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  However, if employers ask disability-related screening questions as part of the pre-vaccination process, employers must keep such worker vaccination information confidential. 

A recent survey of more than 1,000 workers indicates that 60% would get the vaccine if their employers offered a monetary incentive of $100 to do so.  The report suggests that employers have offered incentives including either paid time off or bonus payments ranging from $75 to $500.   If the employer offers an incentive to employees for the vaccination, the EEOC guidance suggests that it not be so substantial as to be coercive.  That is, if the incentives are too substantial, then answering the medical screening questions might not be considered voluntary.  Unfortunately, the EEOC did not provide examples of bright-line tests for what might be considered coercive.  There is less need for the questions, however, if the employer merely requests confirmation that the employee received a vaccination from an outside provider.

This is part of our July 2021 Newsletter.

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Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine

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