UCC national mandates COVID-19 vaccines for staff
Add the United Church of Christ national offices to the list of organizations mandating COVID-19 vaccines.
“UCC national is committed to the health and safety of our employees, their families and the community at large. It made sense to mandate the vaccine now that the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine,” said Alisa Lewis, director of human resources, noting that FDA approval offers more validity to employees who were on the fence about obtaining the shot.
“Our mission is to do our part in reducing serious illness and the spread of the virus by mandating that all employees become fully vaccinated.”
Shots, tests, exemptions
The new policy, outlined in an Oct. 11 staff newsletter, gives unvaccinated employees two weeks to begin the protocol. All staff members must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22.
New employees will have to provide proof of vaccination. Current staff members who need to obtain the vaccine will be given time off to get it and recuperate, if necessary.
Employees can remain unvaccinated only by requesting a medical or religious exemption and providing documentation. Those given approval to skip the shot will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test and submit a negative test to HR before the beginning of the work week.
Staff members have been asked to provide HR with a copy of their vaccine card as proof of vaccination. Those who don’t comply with new policy will be terminated, following an unpaid leave and review.
COVID safety protocols
National staff are returning to the Church House to work with permission of their executive officer to prepare to move the offices to leased space in early 2022.
“We are keeping building capacity to a minimum due to COVID safety protocols,” Lewis said.
Those working at 700 Prospect must fill out a health questionnaire and take their temperature on site before entry. Face masks are required in the office.
Staff travel restrictions also remain in place, with “essential” travel considered on a case-by-case basis by national officers. Fully vaccinated domestic travelers do not need to take a COVID test or self-quarantine, unless required by local or state authorities. Vaccinated international travelers coming back the the United States must test negative before boarding their flight. Employees will also have to take a COVID-19 test three to five days after travel.
“Protecting the health of our staff is of the utmost importance to us, and that is primary reason for these protocols,” said General Minister and President John Dorhauer. “COVID-19 has already impacted so many lives. As the virus continues to spread throughout our communities, requiring vaccinations is the responsible step forward.”
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