What Do New Mask Rules Mean for Company Vaccine Mandates?

“I don’t know if it’ll solve it in the long run,” said Mr. Gigante of Proskauer Rose. “But I do think that’s what we’re talking to people about and talking to clients about.”

Requiring tests before an employee can come to work doesn’t fully protect other employees from contracting the disease. Tests vary in accuracy, and results refer only to the moment tests were administered. The more frequent the tests, the more informative they are. Mr. Gigante said he most commonly hears of companies mandating tests twice a week, though some situations, like a movie set or a courtroom, may require daily testing.

Some companies may not want to deal with considerations that come with such a program — like the cost, the need to figure out where and how to administer the tests, and the headache of keeping track of the results.

“Logistics and costs were making it less likely to be relied on by employers as an avenue, but as tests are becoming more available and less expensive, employers are looking at testing as a good layer of protection,” said David Schwartz, who runs the labor group at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Laura Godfrey in Saugatuck, Mich., is curious about the relationship between vaccinations and employee health care plans. “Companies have been focused on wellness to a determined level,” she writes. “So to ask for a vaccine seems reasonable.”

“It’s definitely something that’s on a lot of employers’ minds,” said Emily Zimmer, a partner who specializes in employee benefits at the law firm Troutman Pepper.

That’s particularly the case for companies with established wellness programs, she said. For example, if a company already rewards employees who receive annual flu shots, it would be easier to do the same for employees who receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

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