Fact Check: Paycheck deduction for unvaccinated workers?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) —There have been all sorts of incentives for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Fifty-dollar gift cards here in Rochester, full-ride scholarships across New York, and free lottery tickets! But could you soon be penalized at work for not getting the shot?

It is legal for companies to require employees to get the vaccine, but let’s say your employer doesn’t mandate it. What if $50 was taken from your paycheck every month if you’re not vaccinated? According to recent reports, that’s coming soon.

Here’s one article from Forbes. It says employers are starting to charge unvaccinated workers $20 to $50 a month. That’s according to Mercer, a company that focuses on the health and benefits marketplace.
News10NBC’s Nikki Rudd contacted Mercer herself. A spokesperson confirmed more than 20 employers have inquired about surcharging unvaccinated employees.

So could this happen here in New York? Rudd reached out to several local attorneys who focus on employment law and was told our labor laws are quite specific on what deductions can be made from your paycheck. Things like taxes, child support, or union dues.

However, here’s the twist. Rudd got some clarification from Mercer. It would actually be an additional contribution toward your health insurance, not a stand-alone payroll deduction.

So could you lose out on money each month if you don’t have the COVID vaccine? Yes, that is a fact.

Walmart, Google, and United Airlines are just some of the companies requiring COVID vaccines. Many more employers are expected to be added to that list now that the Pfizer vaccine has full FDA approval.


Check out other Fact Checks here. If you have an idea for Fact Check, email Nikki Rudd at nrudd@whec.com.