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What Employers Need Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Posted on in Business Law

Elgin business lawyer for COVID-19 vaccine policiesOver the past year, many businesses have made accommodations in their workplaces to ensure that employees are safe from becoming infected with COVID-19. Due to the increased availability of vaccines, many people who have been working from home are beginning to return to work in person, and employers are taking steps to ensure that their workplaces are safe for employees. However, many employers are uncertain about their requirements related to COVID-19 vaccines for employees, so they should be sure to understand how the authorities in Illinois are addressing these issues.

Can Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated?

Currently, the State of Illinois is leaving decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations for employees up to the discretion of employers. An employer may require employees to be vaccinated, or they may allow employees to choose whether or not to receive the vaccine. However, if an employer requires employees to be vaccinated, they must compensate employees for the time spent obtaining the vaccine. Typically, an employer will provide paid leave while employees receive their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If an employer does not require employees to become vaccinated, and employees voluntarily choose to receive the vaccine, the employer should allow employees to use sick time or other paid time off to obtain the first and second doses of the vaccine. Employees should also be allowed to use sick leave to help children or other family members obtain vaccinations. Additionally, employers are permitted to ask for proof of vaccination from employees to verify that they have been vaccinated.

Whether an employer requires employees to become vaccinated or not, they should be sure to follow the correct practices to ensure that those in their workplace are as safe as possible from COVID-19 infections. Employers may require employees to wear face masks, although employees who have medical conditions or disabilities may ask for a reasonable accommodation to be exempt from these requirements. Employers should make sure face masks or other personal protective equipment are made available to employees at no cost. 

Temperature screenings may be used, and employees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 infection may be required to go home. An employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be allowed to quarantine for 14 days, and they may return to work if at least 10 days have passed since they first experienced symptoms, they have had no fever for at least 24 hours, and their other symptoms are improving. Employers may require employees to provide a doctor’s note or a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to return to work. Employers should also notify employees about confirmed COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and if two or more employees test positive for COVID-19 or report having symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, the employer is required to notify their local health department.

Contact Our Elgin Business Law Attorneys

If you have questions about your requirements as an employer when addressing vaccinations or other issues related to COVID-19, Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel, P.C. can advise you of your rights and help you create policies that protect you and your employees. Contact our Kane County small business lawyers at 847-695-2400 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccine-faq

https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/Documents/IDOL_Vaccine%20Leave%20Guidance.pdf

https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/SiteAssets/Pages/default/Guidance%20on%20Workers%20Rights%20and%20Safety.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Kane County Bar Association DeKalb Bar Association
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