California Encourages Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccinations

Proskauer - California Employment Law
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Proskauer - California Employment Law

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, California officials are recommending that private employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face regular testing.  In an article in the Sacramento Business Journal, Governor Gavin Newsom’s senior advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee Dee Myers, called on private employers, urging them to follow the state’s lead and mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing to make way for economic recovery.  This recommendation comes despite hesitancy that the COVID-19 vaccination has only been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.  However, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Dawn Johnsen, has indicated that this does not present a barrier for those businesses wishing to mandate vaccinations.

In related news, the Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

In light of this recommendation, California legislators are considering introducing a bill to impose a vaccine mandate or regular testing requirement on private sector employers.

Currently, many private employers have been slow to heed this advice.  Although, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Kaiser Permanente are ahead of the curve and have begun mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

In order to incentivize mandating vaccinations, business leaders have made various demands including that the state provide tax credits for the cost of increased testing and remove extended paid sick leave for workers who are not vaccinated.

Further information may be found in our colleagues’ posts on Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog which summarized the DFEH’s guidance for mandating vaccinations as well as other considerations.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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