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After President Joe Biden’s announcement that any private company with more than 100 workers must abide by new COVID-19 vaccination protocols, WorkForce Software’s SVP of HR Leslie Tarnacki spoke to the Detroit Free Press about the implications for Michigan businesses.

Per the announcement, any private company with more than 100 workers must ensure that all employees are fully vaccinated or require any workers who are unvaccinated to test negative for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis before coming into work. Employers with more than 100 employees also have to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or recover from the shot.  

Employment lawyers and human resource experts say they were caught off guard by the announcement. Companies like WorkForce Software are thinking through their options. 

“If we take the stance that we are going to require vaccinations for anyone to return to work in the office, I predict there are going to be employees that will not be happy with that stance and we are potentially at risk for losing them,” Tarnacki said.

She’s wondering whether employees could continue to work at home and not be subject to the vaccine requirement and get a test if they come into the office for a meeting.

“This is a tricky navigation that HR is really trying to figure out right now,” Tarnacki said. “There are many companies that aren’t able to offer the same level of flexibility that we do.”

Tarnacki participates in several HR forums, and for several months, members have debated whether to require vaccinations. This created a conundrum for business leaders and in some ways, the announcement put an end to this.

“‘Do we require it? Do we not require it?’ And suddenly the decision was made for us. I think in some way companies may be relieved that the decision was taken off the table for them, but it’s a polarizing subject,” she said. 

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