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If you were among the millions of Americans to lose your job amid the global pandemic, you’re probably hunting for a new position. As the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations are underway, employers are eager to fill vacant positions to vamp up production. While this is excellent news for job seekers, you’re encouraged to proceed with caution, particularly if you’re uncertain about getting the vaccine. Continue reading to learn more. 

What’s The Latest on COVID-19 Vaccination Policies? 

Before you start applying for jobs, educate yourself on the current rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 vaccine policies in the workplace. As it stands now, there are no federal or state laws mandating this. But, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has permitted employers to make this a requirement. Any businesses that feel there is a significant risk to employees’ health and safety can mandate coronavirus vaccines for existing employees and new hires. However, these mandates are not absolute. The American Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect employees with religious beliefs or disabilities. 

Incentive Programs

Since no official laws are backing company-mandated vaccination policies, some companies have opted to develop an incentive program. Rather than force everyone to get a vaccine, they believe it’s better to encourage the form of incentives. Some organizations offer paid time off, transportation assistance, cash bonuses, and other reasonable accommodations to get employees vaccinated. Job seekers should also be aware that incentive programs aren’t the same thing as a mandate. If you don’t want to get the vaccine, you have a right to object. 

Learn Policies in Advance

If you’re interested in working for a particular company, job seekers are encouraged to learn about the policies in advance. Start by reviewing job descriptions in detail. Sometimes, employers will list the various background checks and procedures you’ll be required to follow if you accept a position. If you can’t find the information, review the company website, contact someone in the human resources department, and ask questions. It’s best to know upfront what the requirements are so you can make an informed decision.

Speak Up About Religious Beliefs or Disabilities

If you’re offered a position with a company that mandates or encourages COVID-19 vaccines, don’t be afraid to speak up about your reservations. Employees with religious beliefs or disabilities have a right to refuse to get the vaccine. So, you shouldn’t be fearful of an employer rescinding an offer as they are required to provide reasonable accommodations. Such accommodations may include allowing you to work remotely,  join a department that doesn’t need vaccines, or work without getting the vaccine. Also, if an employer doesn’t offer accommodations first, you could be within your rights to file a complaint or lawsuit. 

Avoid Companies With Mandates

If you’re adamant about not getting the vaccine, it’s probably best that you steer clear of companies or industries that may require them. You can do this by using the tips provided above to learn about a company’s policies in advance. However, keep in mind that you’ll be required to follow other health and safety practices during the pandemic. Although it may seem like the odds are stacked against you, many employers need in-house employees that do not have policies in place. With careful research, a solid cover letter, an impressive resume, you should have no problem finding a suitable job. 

Trying to find a job at the start of the pandemic was challenging. With millions of people unemployed and businesses unable to hire in-house staff, the competition was stiff. Fortunately, the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines encouraged government officials to lift restrictions. This move also encouraged employers to add new positions to job boards. As an added precaution, some companies have implemented mandates or incentive programs for the vaccination. Therefore, as you job hunt right now, educate yourself on the current laws, speak up about exemptions, and avoid companies with mandates. These are the best courses of action for job seekers as they look for new opportunities.

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