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EEOC Approves Limited Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Last week the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) provided guidance for employers to offer limited incentives for employees to get vaccinated, as long as those incentives are not coercive. This guidance comes at the heels of lingering uncertainty facing employers around what constitutes a permissible incentive. 

Many employers have been thinking about the legal factors involved in deciding whether to offer incentives to encourage vaccination. These incentives could include a cash bonus, paid time off, gifts, or other type of reward. 

If employees receive the vaccine voluntarily from someone other than their employer, lawyers advise that employer incentives around having employees disclose vaccination status are not extensively limited. 

According to the EEOC, employers should be able to offer relatively large incentives if their employees make arrangements for their own vaccinations, such as at a pharmacy or health care provider. 

However, the EEOC warned against using a “very large incentive” that would force employees into disclosing confidential medical information. They further cautioned that existing federal, state, and local laws must be taken into account—which could change the direction of current regulations and guidance.

Want to learn more about vaccination guidance for employers? Check out our blog post Q&A: Do Fully Vaccinated Employees Still Need to Wear Masks?

Namely does not provide legal, accounting, or tax advice. Please consult with professional counsel for any tax, accounting or legal questions.

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