As SOCMA continues to keep a pulse on the specialty and fine chemical industry, we understand that companies across the industry are grappling with how to encourage employee inoculations now that there’s increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

It is clear that without a federal mandate and each state handling rollout of the vaccine through a myriad of systems there are numerous legal and safety concerns that leadership and human resources officials are taking into consideration.

We’ve spoken with leaders from Texas to Rhode Island and everywhere in between about how they are handling the vaccination within their companies, and here are a few takeaways you can consider when implementing your own plans.

Mandate or Incentivize

Both tracks have advantages and legal pitfalls. What is most important in making the decision to mandate or incentivize your employees is understanding the basic risks and considerations for each. While these examples are not exhaustive, SOCMA recommends companies seek legal counsel to ensure adherence to federal, state and local labor laws.

  • Mandating – Risk Consideration
    • Litigation stemming from employee refusal/termination
    • Worker’s compensation claims due to adverse effects
    • Compensation for time spent for vaccination/recovery
    • Tailored and focused policy for onsite employee, expectations for remote employees
  • Incentivizing – Risk Consideration
    • Consider the tax implications of providing financial incentives
    • Providing “high value” incentives that may seem coercive
    • Make available comparable benefits for employees who request accommodations that are protected by law ie. Religious beliefs, disability and medical

Heard from SOCMA Members

In a recent poll, 100% of SOCMA Members have proceeded with an incentivized employee vaccination plan. Incentives have included:

  • $100 – $500 gift cards. The average being $200.
  • Paid Time Off for vaccine appointments
  • Support for spouses to receive vaccinations through information sharing

Rolling out a Vaccination Policy

Regardless of your decision to mandate or incentivize vaccinations, be sure to communicate with your employees about the process, implementation timelines and expectations as operationally, legally and culturally necessary. The plan to inoculate is deeply personal to each employee.

Future Plans to Keep in Mind

  • Will your vaccination policy change once administrative and sales employees are brought back into the office?
  • Will the normalization and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, change your incentive policy to a mandate?

DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: This information was prepared by the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) and is disseminated for general informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or guidance, and does not create any legal relationship, responsibility or liability between SOCMA and user. SOCMA makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy or reliability of this information. Any reliance you place on this information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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