The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued updated quarantine recommendations for people who have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Now, those who have been fully vaccinated (having received an initial shot and a subsequent booster dose) will no longer be required to quarantine if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.

The CDC’s revised guidance states: People who have been vaccinated and have an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated.
  • Are within three months following receiving the last dose of the vaccine.
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Those who do not meet those qualifying standards should follow the CDC’s quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

In December, the CDC revised its quarantine standards, saying close contacts could be subject to quarantine periods of seven to ten days as opposed the two-week period that has been the CDC’s recommendation since the pandemic began in early 2020.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment left the decision about whether to incorporate the new standard up to individual counties but continued to recommend the 14-day quarantine period.

All of this has workplace implications as well, but the issue of vaccines is one to which employers don’t have a clear answer. In many cases, employers are faced with decisions about whether to require employees to be vaccinated.

In short, businesses can require their employees to be vaccinated in certain cases.

December guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission indicates COVID-19 vaccinations can be required in some instances as long as the request complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Other workplace laws under the EEOC also apply.

However, employers may be better off encouraging their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine and stopping short of it being a requirement.

Can employers legally offer incentives to encourage employees to be vaccinated? It’s an issue that employer groups, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), are seeking clarity and guidance on from the EEOC. According to a SHRM report, that organization and 40 others across the U.S. are involved with the effort to get legal clarification on whether employers can offer vaccine incentives without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, which includes provisions about wellness activities.

Any policies pertaining to COVID-19 vaccinations inevitably will vary among employers depending on their industry and how closely their employees work with each other and the general public.

Syndeo recommends employers encouraging their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine if there is a legitimate business need to do so, such as those who work in the health care field or with high-risk populations.

Meanwhile, guidance pertaining to COVID-19 vaccines is likely to change multiple times throughout the year. Count on Syndeo to continually monitor changes and communicate potential effects on employers accordingly.

 

About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll.

 

~Josh Heck, Marketing Manager Syndeo