Many home care agencies are finding new challenges as COVID restrictions ease across the U.S. More and more clients are requesting vaccinated caregivers only, so agencies are pondering mandatory COVID-19 vaccine programs and incentives for those who are vaccinated. Is mandating the vaccine for employees legal? The simple answer is: yes
On Friday, May 28, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance on vaccination programs. To summarize - Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and you can provide incentives to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of receiving a vaccination.
Polsinelli Law Firm has interpreted these new guidelines and provided a few creative solutions regarding how agencies can provide reasonable accommodations for caregivers who continue to be vaccine hesitant.
For example, Polsinelli describes: “The key is to be flexible and creative. For your office staff, it might mean allowing work from home or wearing masks and socially distancing while in the office. For your caregivers, it may be only caring for clients who have been vaccinated. You may also want to implement periodic COVID testing of unvaccinated employees who do not strictly work from home. An accommodation of last resort is reassignment. That may mean moving a caregiver to an office position (if one is open and the caregiver is qualified). Note, you are not required to ‘make work’ for employees by creating a new job.”
You can read additional information from the EEOC at
Additionally, you can read more from Polsinelli’s interpretation of these new guidelines at