PERRY COUNTY, Pa. — A Perry County woman contacted FOX43 Finds Out questioning a detail about COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
She's a federal subcontractor and is required the get the vaccine in order to keep her job. So, she did. She had a side effect and couldn't work, so she thought she could take the day off, get paid, and not have to use her earned paid time off.
It turns out that may not be the case.
FOX43 Finds Out how to know what your rights are if your employer mandates the vaccine and you have a reaction.
"It's a big administrative bureaucratic disaster right now," said Sidney Gold, an employment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates in Philadelphia.
He's talking about vaccine mandates in the workplace and he says it's confusing for everyone, "So, unfortunately with this confusion the employee generally gets hurt the most."
While the courts hear debates about private-sector mandates, the COVID-19 shot requirement for federal employees, contractors and subcontractors seem more likely to stick.
Time is ticking for those employees to get the shot or risk losing their jobs.
That is pretty clear, but what's unclear is what happens if an employee who is mandated to get the vaccine has a reaction.
Side effects are fairly common, according to the CDC. Things like a sore arm, headache and body aches.
FOX43 Finds Out asked the employment attorney if that happens, is the company required to give an employee a paid day to recover, or does the employee have to use their own earned time?
Gold said, "The employee can take a day off or 2 days off, whatever is needed to recover, however, it will be charged against their accrued sick time. If the company doesn't provide any accrued paid sick time, then the employer has to pay for the sick leave."
To confirm, we asked OSHA if that's true.
A spokesperson told us that is true for right now for the private sector, but the federal field is a bit different.
As of right now, OSHA could not point to any document that gives any information about how a federal employer or contractor should handle the situation.
FOX43 Finds Out went through document after document and couldn't find any clear language on the matter either.
The employment lawyer isn't surprised. He said, "We haven't had enough time to implement these policies with any kind of clarity, predictability, nor have we considered this type of scenario."
What does this mean for you, the employee?
At this point, OSHA, the agency you would report a complaint to in this type of situation doesn't even have a real answer right now.
Here's the best way to avoid this scenario no matter who you work for.
If your employer is mandating you get the vaccine, you should communicate with your employer and human resources, in writing, as to what you can expect if you need to recover from a side effect and take a day off.