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health care professional in gown and mask administering vaccine to woman (Photo: Shutterstock)

For months, all eyes have been on the progress of COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Now that vaccines are becoming more widely available to the public, employers are also wondering whether they can require employees to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance that strongly suggests employers can—carefully—mandate COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. However, many employers don’t want to go so far as mandating vaccination—and would rather provide incentives designed to encourage vaccination within the workforce.

EEOC regulations proposed earlier this year offered guidance on these types of wellness incentives—but those regulations were unexpectedly withdrawn in February, leaving employers to wonder whether they’re permitted to take any action at all with respect to COVID-19 vaccination.

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