There has been a lot of information, much of it confusing about the various COVID-19 vaccine mandates and regulations. I’d like to both clear up confusion and to further explain Family Resource’s process regarding vaccine mandates.
As providers of care to seniors and other vulnerable populations, our company believes that getting vaccinated is an important step in ensuring prevention of serious disease in our clients and our employees. As such, we highly encourage all of our employees to become vaccinated – and to provide a photo or copy of your vaccine department to our Human Resources – known as HR department.
We also believe that each employee must determine what is right for them based on their health, personal or religious reasons. We honor your decision about whether or not to become vaccinated. Our approach is to provide all employees with both incentives and options to ensure everyone can continue to work at Family Resource. Our intent is that no one loses their job over this mandate.
To reward employees who take the time to become vaccinated and submit a copy of that vaccine to HR or submit an approved medical or religious accommodation to HR, I am announcing a $250 bonus. The bonus will appear in your paycheck following receipt of the vaccine or approval of an accommodation starting now until January 4th, 2022.
If you already submitted proof of vaccine or accommodation, you also qualify for this bonus! We thank you for turning in your vaccination status. We will process the $250 bonus for the hundreds of employees who have already provided their vaccine card to HR.
If you are vaccinated or have an accommodation and have not yet provided proof to HR, I highly encourage you to do so, in order to get the bonus and to ensure that we can offer you as many shifts and client assignments as possible.
Approved exemptions could include accommodations for either religious or doctor-approved health reasons. As an employer, the EEOC doesn’t permit us to make the determination about your religious exemption reasons. We can request a valid doctor’s note for medical exemptions.
This week, there’s been a lot of news about the new CMS vaccine mandate and the OSHA vaccine mandate. First, let’s discuss the OSHA vaccine mandate that applies to companies who have more than 100 employees. This is considered an Emergency Temporary Standard and is subject to change. Family Resource must follow this vaccine mandate, given that we have over 100 employees. This new rule will cover 84 million workers across the U.S., so we are not alone in adopting these new practices. The OSHA mandate goes into effect on January 4, 2022 and has new requirements for unvaccinated employees.
For unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated employees, including those with an approved accommodation, according to the new OSHA Standard you:
- Must be tested for COVID-19 at least weekly, if you work at least once per week;
- Within 7 days before returning to work, if away from work a week or more;
- If you get a COVID-19 positive test result, regardless of your vaccination status, you must be removed from work until you meet criteria to return
- If you are unvaccinated and test positive for COVID-19, will not need to submit weekly testing for 90 days after your positive test result.
All employees, whether vaccinated or not, should continue follow our existing COVID-19 practices, including wearing a mask with your clients. We will use PPE for as long as the states require it or until we feel it is safe to cease, whichever is later.
Our intent is to provide all employees with the opportunity to continue working at Family Resource by:
- Accepting proof of vaccination
- Accepting proof of an approved medical or religious accommodation, with the requirement to be tested weekly per OSHA
- Providing a weekly testing option for unvaccinated employees, per OSHA
We are developing our exact policy and procedures to prepare us for this new OSHA standard. We will communicate with you soon information about the process for weekly testing, if that applies to you. In the meantime, we encourage you to either submit your proof of vaccination to HR; get vaccinated if you haven’t already, or submit your medical or religious accommodation to HR so that you can receive the $250 bonus.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, also known as CMS, also announced a vaccine mandate for health care workers this week. This mandate does NOT apply to Family Resource. However, if you are a caregiver who works in a facility, vaccination is required. If you wish to work shifts and provide care to clients in facilities, please provide your proof of vaccination to HR. Washington State and Oregon already implemented health care facility mandates in October of 2021, related to vaccination of health care workers. Personal care in someone’s home, which is much of what we do at Family Resource, was exempted from this vaccine mandate.
The CMS mandate is:
- Specific to health care facilities, medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes
- If working in a facility as Family Resource employee, must be vaccinated.
- Weekly testing is not an option for those working in facilities, unless you have an approved accommodation.
Regarding your personal vaccination status, legally, your vaccination status is protected health information, therefore, we as an employer will not disclose this to clients. However, clients may request, and we can promise, that they will work with only vaccinated caregivers.
Heading into 2022, given the mandates, we will:
- Continue to encourage vaccination and – importantly – the submitting of your proof of vaccination to HR
- Accommodate religious or medical exemptions
- Accommodate temporary exemptions, such as pregnancy
- Follow research and pending legislation about anti-body tests as an alternative to vaccination or testing
- And, offer weekly testing for unvaccinated employees to ensure our clients remain safe and your ability to work remains as uninterrupted as possible.
- Communicate any updates or changes to you in a timely manner.
In closing, this pandemic has been tough for all of us. While I know we all look forward to having it behind us I want you to know how grateful we all are for your excellence. I am amazed by the dedicated and professional way you continue to provide the highest quality of care throughout this crisis and into a future that continues to look bright for all of us here at Family Resource Home Care. You have been and will always be Home Care Heroes!
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