Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Vaccine Mandate Ruling

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It’s nearly a foregone conclusion that the government vaccination mandate for firms with 100 or more employees is dead in the water now that the Supreme Court has rejected it. However, this does not preclude you from enacting your own vaccine or testing requirements.

Do you think a vaccination mandate is necessary?

You must assess if you want to impose a vaccination requirement in light of the Great Resignation.

“It’s the same as any other health or safety choice,” Dr. Castagnera explained. “On the one hand, you want to make sure that your staff are safe. You must, however, also be able to operate a lucrative business. So you attempt to find that sweet spot where you’re relatively safe, you’re following OSHA’s General Duty criteria, and you’re still able to conduct a profitable business.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still in the game. OSHA provides a lot of advice on what constitutes a safe workplace, and it’s typically industry-specific. “Most of it is covered by the General Duty Clause,” Dr. Castagnera says. “So, you want to look at the recommendations, figure out what you should be doing, and then assess whether you really need a vaccine requirement in place.”

According to some research, implementing a vaccination requirement will result in one-third of your staff quitting. And still other surveys say one-third of people will jump ship if you don’t implement a mandate because of the fact that they won’t feel safe.

HR professionals, if they haven’t already, should listen to their employee opinion and feedback, according to Dr. Castagnera. “There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer.” Every work environment is unique. And I believe that is where employers are now.”

A shift from immunisation to testing is required

Dr. Castagnera believes the Biden administration is moving its attention from forced immunisation to testing rather than coming up with a tighter objective. “It appears to me that what the Biden administration is saying in the aftermath of losing this lawsuit is, OK, we can’t require vaccines for the vast majority of businesses the way we thought we could, so we’ll have to put pressure and resources into testing.” And I believe that HR personnel must begin to flex in terms of how the testing criteria will be implemented.”

Now that the government is distributing free federal COVID-19 test kits for at-home use (covidtests.gov), availability should improve, making bulk testing much simpler.

Tests should be reimbursed

Another thing to consider is that private insurance companies will be forced to reimburse their clients for fast antigen COVID-19 testing starting Jan. 15, 2022. If your firm has a self-funded health insurance plan, or if you have a group plan and interact with a carrier, then this might be a problem you should address.

“It’s almost like going back in time,” Dr. Castagnera explained. “In the sense that workers who purchase [COVID-19] testing kits should save their receipts and test kit boxes as proof of purchase in case they need to file a claim.” It will take time for insurance companies to learn how to process all of these claims online.”

Carriers are also allowed to strike arrangements with pharmacy shops and other businesses under this provision. As a result, it will soon be as simple as picking up any other prescription. People will be able to stroll into the local supermarket, pick up test kits, and have their insurance provider immediately cover them.

However, figuring out and implementing all of this will take time. So, in conclusion, patience is a virtue.

Mandate for healthcare workers

The Supreme Court ruled that the immunisation mandate for healthcare workers should be implemented in all 50 states. It affects healthcare providers who accept Medicare and Medicaid payments. They must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by February 14 (Happy Valentine’s Day!) and be completely immunised by March 15.

Contractors for the government

There’s also the vaccination mandate’s government contractor component. That case is still pending, and it won’t be heard in front of the 11th Circuit Court until February 22.

Will it go the way of the healthcare mandate or the 100+ employer mandate if it reaches the Supreme Court?

“I’m not sure,” Dr. Castagnera added. “We’ll have to keep an eye on that one, and it’s unlikely to be resolved before the end of March.” So, if you’re a government contractor, you need keep a careful eye on this because it might be a game changer for you!”

The following steps:

  • In light of this, Dr. Castagnera recommends HR professionals to:
  • Examine their COVID-19 policies to ensure that they are current and represent the situation on the ground.
  • Learn about COVID-19 policies at the state and municipal levels, as well as what they expect of them.

Recognize that testing will be essential. If the federal government places such a high value on testing, OSHA will be able to use its power to oversee COVID-19 testing and contract tracking in the workplace.

“The most significant component is how you review your company policy,” Dr. Castagnera noted, ”  particularly identifying how testing fits into your overall COVID-19 strategy.” “Mainly because we’re going to see a major change towards testing from the federal government and other parts of federal organizations.” So, if you don’t have a solid testing and contact tracing strategy in place as part of your overall COVID-19 approach, then that’s probably the most critical item to concentrate on.”

See how HealthBoxHR can help your organization manage, track and report on weekly tests by using our Test Tracker. Additionally, if you also wish to track the vaccines progress of your employees then have a look at our Vaccination Tracker.  

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