How to easily keep track of employee vaccination status ahead of the federal mandate

Cat DiStasioNov 1, 2021

Update: OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) are moving forward and will go into effect for enforcement as of January 10, 2022. Read our more recent blog post to get the details and find out what you can do to help your business comply quickly and easily.

A federal vaccine mandate is very likely coming soon. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has drafted the mandate, now under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which may require businesses with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing for employees as a condition of continued employment. The hotly debated new rule is estimated to impact around 80 million American workers. The federal government not only supports the upcoming mandate but has urged employers to implement their own vaccine verification programs now, instead of waiting for the rule to become active.

Why you should consider establishing a vaccine database now

Tracking and managing vaccine status and testing results could create hours of work in research, planning, and implementation, and it's understandable that companies may want to delay that investment until the new fiscal year or until they’re sure the rules will withstand any legal challenges. But organizations can’t afford not to prepare for the rule to take effect—companies will face fines of up to $14,000 per violation for non-compliance with the federal mandate, and depending on the size of the company, the fine could be prohibitive.

Implementing your own vaccine requirement, ahead of the mandate, also has implications for employer branding, the importance of which is at an all-time high given the record levels of talent mobility. Job seekers are already asking about vaccine requirements and they want to hear how employers are managing this process and the data produced by it.

Being proactive about vaccine requirements also establishes your organization as a decisive leader that prioritizes public health and the welfare of your employees and customers. Having a process up and running before the mandate becomes effective will help you hit the ground running.

How Rippling can help

The good news is that implementing vaccine requirements may be much simpler than you realize. Rippling allows employers to invite employees to confirm and record their vaccination status electronically, saving time and manual work for employees—and for their colleagues who have to manage the tracking.

Ever since vaccines became widely available in the U.S., Rippling has had a vaccine requirement for anyone coming into our office. Because the Rippling platform is our centralized employee system of record, it was simple to create a custom field in the product to compliantly track vaccinations and even upload a photo of their vaccine card. This feature has taken all of the manual checking and guesswork out of enforcing our own company policy, and it will make complying with the upcoming federal mandate a much easier process for Rippling customers affected by the rule. It’s also an effective and compliant way for smaller companies to manage an in-house vaccine requirement or at least track employee status. For those smaller teams, Rippling makes it possible to set the vaccine card upload as an optional step. If you’re already a Rippling customer, visit our Help Center for easy step-by-step instructions.

Preparing early means your team will have additional time to integrate this new task with your existing processes, which means a better experience for all your employees.