Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Nine out of ten Human Resources leaders will allow employees to work remotely after a Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is widely adopted, according to a December 2020 survey by global research and advisory firm Gartner. Sixty-five percent of organizations reported they would continue to offer employees flexibility on when they work.

HR leaders who responded to Gartner’s survey predicted that approximately 50 percent of the workforce would want to return to the workplace – at least part time – once a COVID-19 vaccine is made widely available. Nearly two-thirds of HR leaders surveyed said they would continue all safety measures currently in place.

When a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, 60 percent of HR leaders surveyed said they would encourage – but not require – employees to get vaccinated, 60 percent reported they would provide resources to employees on how to get vaccinated, and 44 percent said they planned to cover or subsidize vaccine costs for employees.

“Organizations are considering different policies for employees who receive the vaccine and those who do not. What is most critical is that HR leaders are making these decisions with the expectation that they may need to course correct as we learn more,” said Elisabeth Joyce, vice president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice.

“HR leaders are now faced with an onslaught of questions, including if they can or should require employees to be vaccinated, what the employer’s responsibility is in helping employees and their families get vaccinated, and how the release of vaccines impacts their return-to-the-workplace strategy,” Joyce stated in a press release.

On March 19, 2020, due to the increased number of remote workers caused by COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would defer the physical presence requirements of the Form I-9 that all newly hired employees must complete to show that they are legally eligible to work in the United States.

The policy was implemented for 60 days and set to expire on May 19, 2020. The DHS extended it for 30 additional days four times to June 19, 2020, July 19, 2020, August 19, 2020, and September 19, 2020, then an additional 60 days to November 19, 2020, then to the end of the year on December 31, 2020, and finally to January 31, 2021.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of January 11, 2021, there are more than 90.3 million global cases and 1.9 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 22.4 million cases and 374,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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