INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s Chamber of Commerce president on Wednesday said proposed regulations on employer vaccine requirements could prove costly.
State House members will take testimony Thursday morning on a proposal to prohibit employers from requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine unless they provide for religious and medical exemptions. Employers also would have to cover the costs of any required COVID-19 tests for employees who refuse the vaccine and could not require tests more than once a week. The hearing comes nearly three weeks before lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Statehouse for the short session.
Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said his organization’s members don’t want any government mandates for or against vaccines. He said although most Indiana employers do not require their employees to get vaccinated against the virus, the legislation could prove particularly disruptive for those that do, such as in the healthcare industry. Brinegar said one manufacturer with about 700 employees told him half of their employees had refused the vaccine. If the company was required to cover the costs of testing each of those workers weekly, he said the owner estimated it would cost them $1.2 million in six months.
“Employees and individuals have had months and months and months to get themselves vaccinated for free and if they choose not to, and have to go through a testing regime instead, our belief is the cost should not fall on the shoulders of the employer,” Brinegar said.
House Majority Floor Leader Matt Lehman, R-Fort Wayne, is sponsoring the bill. Lehman’s office was not able to make him available before the deadline.
The hearing begins at 9 a.m. in the House chamber.
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