Now that the vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available, a lot of Americans are looking to go back to some kind of normal. But even though all adults and many children can get a vaccine, not everyone wants to. There are a lot of reasons, and construction has the highest proportion of vaccine-hesitant workers. If you have a few on your construction team, here are a few ways you can help.
Ask for Input
In order to get a better understanding of the reasons that your employees don’t want to get the vaccine, you’ll need to talk to them first. There are a variety of possible explanations, including:
- Concern about efficacy
- Worries about side effects
- Inability to get an appointment
- Lack of paid time off
The answer that you receive will make it easier for you to address changes to your business to solve the problem. If you don’t receive much in the way of answers, you may need to back off and revisit the subject later.
Make Reasonable Accommodations
If you’ve looked at the news occasionally over the past few months, you know that there have been a handful of problems that people commonly face when figuring out how and where to get the COVID vaccine. Some people don’t know where the vaccine is available, or if they’ll have to pay for it. Others might worry about the time it takes, or what they will do if they have to schedule the appointment during normal business hours. You can do a lot to put your employees at ease by making reasonable accommodations for them to schedule and go to each appointment. For example, offering paid time off for the appointment helps employees because they don’t have to worry about losing money as a result.
Update Your Sick Leave Plan
There’s been a lot of conversation about the potential side effects of the COVID vaccine, and it’s worth adding accommodations for these, as well. It’s hard to predict how someone will react to the vaccine, although experts suggest that the highest likelihood of side effects will happen with the second shot. Some people feel slightly ill for a day or two, while others are knocked flat for several days. Some may have no side effects at all. This is a good time to evaluate your sick leave plan, and make sure that you can make room for people to recover. They’re better off staying home until they feel able to work the full day again.
Evaluate Incentives Carefully
It’s tempting to give incentives as a way to persuade your employees to take the plunge. In fact, several states have offered different types of perks for getting the vaccine, like participation in the lottery or even direct cash payments. If you’re thinking about employing these kinds of incentives for your employees, you should do so carefully. Not everyone has the ability to get the COVID vaccine, even if they wanted to. Some people have documented vaccine reactions, or have health concerns that make them unable to participate. You don’t want to leave them out by offering an incentive that they could never get.
Requiring the vaccine for employees may not be the best practice. Some industries, like healthcare, can require it because employees who are unvaccinated represent a serious health risk to the public. Otherwise, such ultimatums are more likely to increase mistrust and stress among employees, rather than promoting compliance. In some cases, it could be illegal to set such obligations for employees. Instead of forcing your employees to prove their compliance or show reasons that they have not, it’s better to make it as simple as possible for them to get it and encourage them to do so.
Having a vaccinated population is one way that the construction industry can get back to a new normal. To learn more about building your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!