As more companies are struggling to regain their pre-pandemic workforces, or court their employees into returning to their offices, the question of safety is on everyone’s minds. People have had time to step back and assess what is important to them. For this reason, and because of the covid-related anxiety we are still suffering from, the idea of sitting next to coworkers can cause stress and distraction. The biggest question in many employees’ minds is this: are my colleagues a source of potential infection to me? Everyone has their own health issues, family members with comorbidities, and just an overall fear of an ongoing pandemic.
The best way to address these fears head-on is to institute an employee vaccination tracking program. The benefits to both employees and management are numerous and easy to understand:
- Reducing absences and doctor visits
- Avoiding the using up of sick days and other personal leave
- Increase in morale
- Increase in productivity
- Deepening the trust levels between coworkers and between employees and managers
- Less anxiety about infection of the employee or the employee’s family
- Less missing workers due to illness or the questioning of infection status
- Compliance with local, state and federal laws (For example, there have been recent laws requiring vaccination instituted that affect the employment of up to 100 million Americans)
- Compliance with local businesses’ vaccination guidelines – if there are visits or deliveries scheduled, the employer must know what workers are eligible to be onsite
- Boost in morale and productivity
- Increased comfort interpersonally at the office
In order to get started on tracking employee Covid vaccinations, you must keep some ideas in mind. For starters, it is legal to ask about the vaccine status of your employees. And, keeping with that, you can require that they show their proof of vaccination. In this case, for Covid, it is usually given in the form of a thick paper card that contains the brand and date of the shots received. While these cards can be forged, this is considered a crime and is met with stiff penalties. While most offenders are hit with heavy fines, the justice system is making an example of them lately. Recent offenders are being threatened with sentences of up to 7 years in prison for providing these false documents.
When you do get the affirmation from your employees and have seen the required documents, what do you do with the information? Depending on the size of your operation, there are several options. Some prefer the old-fashioned way and keep track of vaccinated employees by using a chart with up-to-date entries on doses received. This would work for a small group, but bigger companies may want to explain some software options. Human Resources software providers such as Workday, Salesforce, and ServiceNow are offering options for keeping track of who is vaccinated at your offices. The only thing to watch out for is employee medical privacy. Employers are encouraged not to discuss vaccine choices about dates and brands with their employees. You have to watch out for violations of HIPAA and ADA policies that are applicable to your business.