ENCOURAGE OR REQUIRE? EMPLOYERS TAKE DIFFERENT TACKS ON COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

SHRM FEB 2021 / by Allen Smith, J.D. / Read original article

More employers are encouraging workers to get COVID-19 vaccines by offering paid time off or incentives, but at least one is requiring employees to get the vaccine before returning to work.

Although Chobani does not have a mandatory vaccination policy, the food company has announced it will cover up to six hours of time for its employees to get vaccinated—three hours for each of the two COVID-19 vaccine doses when available to its workforce. Chobani, with roughly 2,200 employees across the U.S. and manufacturing operations in South Edmeston, N.Y., and Twin Falls, Idaho, is among the first food manufacturers to offer paid time off for vaccines.

“We’re taking our mission to keep our people safe one step further today,” said Chobani President and COO Peter McGuinness in Westchester, N.Y. “It’s simple, fair and the right thing to do.”

While vaccines aren’t widely available yet, the company is working closely with state and local officials to advise its team about the opportunities to receive a vaccine. Chobani also is actively looking into hosting onsite vaccination clinics as soon as food-processing workers are eligible to get vaccines.

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