Public health law expert: Vaccine, mask mandates at your job are legal

WASHINGTON — Companies are changing how we return to the workplace safely, with some mandating vaccines or regular testing.

Others are even considering docking up to $50 a month from your paycheck if you don’t want to get vaccinated to cover increased healthcare coverage costs.

Other private companies, like Google, are potentially cutting pay if you choose to work remotely permanently.

RELATED: Which Massachusetts cities and towns are requiring masks?

Some parents say that’s very concerning, especially with uncertainty about school reopenings.

“We don’t know if they’re going to close, you dock my pay, I have to be home because my kindergartener cannot navigate online school by himself so someone has to be there to help him so while I’m working, he’s working next to me and now you’re punishing me for that for wanting to take care of my kids,” said Heather Ball, who works in theatre scene design.

Georgetown law professor Lawrence Gostin has been studying public health policy and working the World Health Organization for 30 years.

He disagrees with using money as an incentive or punishment, but he said vaccine mandates are legal.

“The vast majority of people will take the easier course and will get vaccinated and that’s perfectly within the employers’ right, and not just the employers’ right but the employers’ duty,” Gostin said.

Gostin said many companies are waiting for the FDA to fully approve the vaccine before mandating it for employees.

“You know there are studies that have shown that most people want their employer to have that kind of mandate because everyone wants to come to work and they want to feel safe and secure and confident,” he said.

Another new workplace normal could be requiring proof of vaccination at work.

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