March 01, 2021
On Friday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new partnership formed between the White House and business leaders to work closely together on the COVID-19 pandemic. Harkening back to wartime efforts, the President is calling on the business community to unite. The partnership entails the following calls for action:
- 1 | Require safety measures like masking and physical distancing at worksites.
- 2 | Reduce/eliminate barriers to vaccination, making it easier for employees to get vaccinated when it is their turn by offering incentives like paid time off and/ or monetary rewards.
- 3 | Amplify messages about masking and vaccinations to customers and the greater public.
Why Your CEO May Care
Employers have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 from the start – and now the White House is recognizing and bolstering these efforts. Your CEO may ask how your company can get involved.
The announcement comes when many employers have their heads down on vaccination efforts with scant support from federal and state governments. The partnership formed between the White House and business groups will, in part, herald the efforts of employers that have been working to keep their workers safe and create a means for employees to get vaccinated. Business Group on Health applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for its recognition of the business community’s important role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to showcase the successes of its members in supporting employees during the pandemic.
What Role are Large Employers Playing in COVID-19 Efforts
Large employers are taking numerous steps to promote the COVID-19 vaccine among their workforce – communications, incentives, paid time off and easing access to get the vaccine. Since December, this has been the major focus of employers’ strategies to combat the virus at the workplace and in the communities where employees live. Tactics detailed in a January 2021 Business Group survey include:
- Communication campaigns: Eighty percent of surveyed employers plan to do an active outreach campaign targeted to employees.
- Incentives: Employers are assessing whether to offer incentives in preparation for when the general population will be eligible to receive the vaccine nationwide. Examples include spot bonuses, extra paid time, charitable contributions and wellness points.
- Time off and flexibility: A majority of employers will provide employees time off to get the vaccine and manage side effects. Additionally, some are encouraging managers to be flexible with schedules due to difficulties many are facing in procuring appointments.
- Partnership to create vaccine sites: Employers are working to partner with local entities—pharmacies, state/county health departments and health care providers—to bring vaccines on-site or provide a means for eligible employees to receive the vaccine off-site.
- Aiding in efforts to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine: Many employers are helping to address disparities in vaccine distribution and uptake by collaborating with employee resource groups (ERGs) and setting up vaccine drives in regions that have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19.