- AB1993 would force an employer to impose a requirement on each employee or independent contractor, who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to show proof to the employer, or an authorized agent thereof, that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
- AB1993 states: For those that “violate” any of the provisions of the bill, a penalty of an unspecified amount would be imposed by the department.
- AB1993 would require new hires to have one shot by their “first day” on the job and the second within “45 days” of hire. The bill states that there are exemptions for medical or religious reasons but many people are wary of turning in paperwork that may marginalize them. Additionally, requiring COVID-19 vaccine proof for employment may be seen as discriminatory.
- AB1993 would require those needing an exemption to test to prove they need the exemption.
From the Author, Buffy Wicks’ Fact Sheet:
- Businesses to require their employees, including independent contractors, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- An employee or contractor to test if that individual qualifies for a medical or religious exemption.
- New hires to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the time of their start date, and the second dose within 45 days.
- A penalty for businesses that are non-compliant.
- The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to work in consultation with the California Department of Public Health to provide guidance to employers on what constitutes a medical condition, disability, religious belief and valid vaccination status.
AB1993 creates significant barriers to employment
Businesses are already struggling with employment rates due to new hire engagement, tenure of new employees, and health stressors that may weigh more heavily than economic at this time.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that California had some of the highest rates of unemployment for the year.
Many small businesses have already been forced to close here in California.
Creates unequal employment opportunities
Data shows that minorities have a lower vaccination rate.
Employers forcing AB1993 may be liable for health risks of their employees
“Even if they don’t mandate vaccinations, they could be responsible for new workers’ comp risks that arise as people return to the office for the first time after months of remote-work. At the core of it, employers need to be conscious of their reputation and how they’re communicating with their workforce about the vaccine and its potential risks.”
“Despite the prevalence of small businesses, the Chamber Foundation’s review of the literature finds that federal regulations and their infrastructure are growing and have a disproportionate impact on small business and free enterprise in America. Federal regulations alone are estimated to cost the American economy as much as $1.9 trillion a year in direct costs, lost productivity, and higher prices. The costs to smaller businesses with 50 employees or fewer are nearly 20% higher than the average for all firms.” What would state regulations do to small businesses?
Ethical issues may arise when imposing something such as a vaccine for employment.
Commentary on Health Care Personnel: “Ethical arguments for mandating COVID-19 vaccination of HCP appeal to their duties to ‘do no harm’ and to care for patients, but the fulfillment of these duties requires a safe working environment.” “Public health should arguably strive to implement the least restrictive intervention when possible, yet vaccine mandates are the most restrictive, intrusive form of vaccine policy.”
Employers who try to mandate vaccinations may find themselves liable for health risks their employees face.
Workplace misconduct may follow vaccine mandates.
As Covid-19 vaccines have become divisive, those who aren’t vaccinated may face a hostile environment, bullying, or retaliation from fellow employees. Jared Pope, CEO of Work Shield, a Dallas-based HR software company, says he’s seen an uptick of incidents of harassment around the vaccine on his company’s platform.
Mandates may potentially deter new hires or cause others to leave.
In the past, vaccine development took over 10 years on average. The phases in which the COVID-19 vaccine was developed was sped up and overlapped.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years and involving a combination of public and private involvement.
During the development of COVID-19 vaccines, these phases overlapped to speed up the process so the vaccines could be used as quickly as possible to control the pandemic.
“Mandating something that doesn’t have a tremendous amount of history, especially safety history associated with it, has risks.”
“I don’t know that anybody is going to mandate that their employees receive the vaccine,” said Dr. John Anderson, DO, FACOEM, EVP and chief medical officer at Concentra. “Mandating something that doesn’t have a tremendous amount of history, especially safety history associated with it, has risks.”
For additional talking points and resources, please visit: bit.ly/caleg22