As the COVID-19 vaccines roll off production lines and distribution ramps up across the world, employers everywhere are starting to encourage employees to get the vaccine. The sooner that everyone is vaccinated, the easier it is for offices to reopen.
Some employers are tackling this with an incentive: we’ll pay employees to get vaccinated.
Incentive programs aren’t new. But we know that the logistics can be intimidating! How can you track and verify participation? What form do incentives take, and how do you deliver them? Who will handle employee questions? How does the program get promoted?
Luckily, at IncentFit, we’ve been rewarding and incentivizing employees for years. Here’s everything you need to know about paying employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Why should we reward employees for getting a COVID vaccine?
There are lots of reasons for this, but here are the most common ones:
- Increase employee participation in getting the vaccine
- Track the percentage of employees who are vaccinated
- Decrease sick leave as a result of the coronavirus
- Promote a culture of health and wellness (wellness in the workplace)
- Return to the office sooner
How much should we reward employees for getting a COVID vaccine?
That depends on a slew of factors, mainly your employee’s average salary and location. Higher salaries and higher cost-of-living locations require higher incentives. That said, most employers offer monetary incentives between $10 and $50 for an employee to get a vaccine. Others offer rewards in the form of additional paid time off, or points towards an internal recognition program. Many include the incentives for the vaccine as a part of their general wellness program, or as extra wellness incentives.
Here at IncentFit, we give you total flexibility in how you want to do this.
If you’re wondering more about how the reward amount impacts participation in your program, check out our whitepaper on incentivizing wellness.
How do employees participate?
The easiest way is for employees to submit proof of getting their vaccination. Proof can be a CDC vaccine card or a signed note from the doctor.
Employees simply snap a picture of their proof with our app, upload it via our website, or email it to us and we’ll handle it from there. Our team will review and verify the documentation, communicate with the employee, and deliver the rewards to them. It really couldn’t get any easier!
How do employees get their reward?
Here at IncentFit, we offer 7 different ways to deliver rewards to employees. Most commonly employers deliver rewards through payroll, gift cards, and direct deposit. Rest assured that no matter what you choose, we make the process easy and ensure that taxes and accounting are handled for you.
What about marketing, communications, customer support, reporting, etc?
We handle all of that for you! We give you the tools (flyers, pre-written emails, etc…) to promote the program internally. We also run email campaigns for you as well as in-app notifications to communicate with participants. Don’t worry, you can customize or disable these.
We also have a domestic customer support team that both administrators and employees can call or email to get answers to their questions.
Reporting isn’t a problem either! Administrators get access to up-to-the-minute reporting on our website. Everything you need to run this program is included.
Can we also reward for other healthy activities?
Yes! We can incentivize almost anything. Common examples of other activities we incentivize for are:
- Flu shots
- Annual physicals
- Gym attendance
- Reimbursements for gym memberships
- Reimbursements for standing desks
You can customize your rewards to your specific organization and you can change things around whenever you like. Take a look at common benefit plans here.
That said, we recommend getting something launched right away in order to quickly motivate employees to get their vaccine. You can always revisit this later this year to add other incentives.
How much does this cost?
Pricing depends on the size of your organization and the products you want to use. If you just want to track and reward employees for getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you would only be using our Activity Rewards product. Pricing ranges from $1.75 per employee per month down to $0.92 per employee per month if you have over 5,000 employees. To see pricing specific to your organization, check out our transparent pricing calculator online. If you have over 10,000 employees, contact us for a quote.
Is this legal? Is this HIPAA compliant?
Yes, it’s definitely legal in the US to pay your employees to get vaccinated for Covid! As of June 2021, the EEOC says that companies can legally require employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to work and can also offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated or to provide documentation of vaccination “as long as the incentives are not coercive. Read full details in our blog post, “Can employers require a COVID-19 vaccine? EEOC says yes, and they can offer incentives too”
As long as it’s a voluntary program, you are allowed to encourage your employees to get a vaccine.Potential legal problems only arise if:
- you are offering too high a reward
- are not allowing employees any reasonable alternatives in case they are not able to get the vaccine for religious or medical reasons
As such, most employers are simply incentivizing employees to get the vaccine through rewards. This way employers can track what percentage of their workforce got it, can reward employees for getting it, and can avoid all the legal and social/political repercussions of requiring it. Our program at IncentFit is structured in a way to guarantee legal compliance so you don’t need to worry.
At IncentFit, we also guarantee full compliance with HIPAA and various international health and privacy laws, including European Union’s Directive on Data Protection, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Does this work internationally?
We support clients all around the world and our incentive programs have no geographical limitations. Our mobile app and website are available in English only.
How long has IncentFit been around? Who are you guys?
Hi, we’re IncentFit! We pay people to exercise and do healthy activities. We’re headquartered in Philadelphia and we’ve been doing this since 2013. While the COVID-19 vaccine is new, we’ve been tracking and rewarding employees for health activities, including getting flu vaccines, for many years. We currently work with hundreds of companies, representing over 300,000 employees worldwide.
What other programs/services are common during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are several other programs that have been quite popular and helpful to employers during the pandemic:
- Challenges – run step competitions or work together to achieve health goals…without having to be in the same place
- Pulse Surveys – gauge employee morale, find out if employees are comfortable returning to the office, or pretty much anything else you want to know about your employee population
- Rewards for Stream Exercise and At-Home Workouts – offer incentives to employees to work out from home, even if fitness facilities are closed
How hard is it to implement? How quickly can we get started?
Implementation is very easy. Once you decide to move forward, here’s all you need to do:
- Choose how and how much you want to reward people for getting the vaccine.
- Provide us a list of your employees. You can simply upload an excel sheet with names and email addresses and/or employee IDs via our website.
- Choose how you want to be billed.
That’s it! Some employers launch in 24 hours; others take a few weeks to get through internal approvals. We can go as fast you’d like. To get started, schedule an introductory call or demo with our benefits experts.