Federal gov’t says employers can offer vaccine incentives

“Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information,” the EEOC guidance said.

Clarification sought: Business groups have been pressing the federal agency to clarify whether employers could offer paid time off or even cash to encourage vaccination.

In April, President Joe Biden called on every employer to offer paid time off for workers to recover from potential side-effects of the shots.

And employers including Dollar General, Aldi and Instacart have already moved to reward their employees for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine by offering paid time off and cash stipends.

Other updates to the guidance: The EEOC’s update to its guidance also said employers are required to keep their staff’s vaccination information confidential because it is “medical information about the employee.”

If an employer wants to mandate vaccination for its staff, the EEOC cautioned that pre-screening questions for the shot could reveal information about an employee’s disability. The agency added that employers “should be aware that an employee may challenge the mandatory pre-vaccination inquiries,” and would have to be prepared to justify the screening questions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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