The MoHFW in its FAQs on COVID-19 vaccine has clearly stated that the vaccination for COVID19 is voluntary. Consequently, it is difficult for employers to make vaccinations mandatory. In a situation where there is hesitancy for vaccination, we as an employer have explored multiple innovative ways to incentivize our employees, one of which is in the form of paid leaves in addition to the existing CL/SL/EL leaves. The employee has to just submit their vaccination certificate as documentary proof for their claim to this additional paid leave.
It is relevant to remember that since vaccination is not compulsory under law, any adverse action for somebody refusing to take the vaccination may be quite difficult to justify in a court of law. This would ensure compliance by HR in relation to the health and safety obligations at the workplace. Moreover, the possibility of a customer requiring information pertaining to the vaccination cannot also be ruled out. In cases where the vaccination data is shared with the customers, the employees were informed of it and were made aware of vaccination as per health and safety policy under medical records.
As an employer, to safeguard our already existing and vaccinated employees, we have kept a term and condition for the new joiners to submit their vaccination certificate as a mandatory document for employment. In order to encourage more employees to get vaccinated, we reimbursed the vaccination costs to the employees upon submission of vaccination certificates, if done in private hospitals. This also encouraged the employees falling in the lowest hierarchy, which actually forms the backbone of the workforce of our company, to get vaccinated. HR representatives helped employees to get themselves registered on the Co-WIN platform to book the slot for themselves & their family members for the vaccine session.
We also ensured short leaves and transport availability for vaccination at the workplace. By organizing a Covid session cognizance program, HR also ensured that maximum awareness is generated to encourage the employees to get themselves vaccinated. As a result, the campaign is almost 95% successful.