Greenville Water Vaccination Policy

Doing Our Part to Support a Healthy Community

Greenville Water plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy community by providing safe drinking water to more than 500,000 customers every day. This commitment requires a dedicated and healthy workforce, a large capital investment, and state-of-the-art technologies based upon proven scientific methods and research. The system that seamlessly provides water from a water source to a household or business requires 24 hours a day, 365 days a year monitoring and maintenance. Greenville Water’s full-time commitment is to ensure safe and sustainable drinking water is available even in times of community crisis.

Maintaining a safe work environment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has required Greenville Water to adapt its Human Resources policies to meet the changing landscape from COVID-19 identification and testing to COVID-19 vaccinations. Greenville Water has consistently addressed this challenge through a layered approach of policies, practices, and best available technologies to assure the continued delivery of safe drinking water while protecting its customers, team members, and its community at large. Greenville Water welcomed the COVID-19 vaccines as the key ingredient to return our community and company to normalcy.

As COVID-19 vaccinations become more available in the US, the nationwide vaccination effort’s ultimate effectiveness will turn on whether a large enough population segment agrees to be vaccinated. Experts and observers have discussed the expected reluctance of many parts of the population to accept even free vaccinations because of public skepticism about vaccines.

Scientific experts tell us that a refusal to be vaccinated impacts not only the person who will not take the shot, but those whom that person may infect in their families and community. Efforts are underway by many organizations to persuade their constituencies of the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines and the public duty and benefits of broader vaccine acceptance. Indeed, improving rates of team member vaccine acceptance is a top priority of Greenville Water leadership.

Tragically, COVID-19 can be a deadly disease for many who contract it. At present, there have been more than 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the US. Importantly, even when the disease is not fatal, it can have long-term health problems. Because of our business’s nature and complexity, many Greenville Water team members may have greater exposure to unvaccinated individuals and require proximity to others. Thus, from a Greenville Water perspective, there are clear benefits to having as many team members as possible vaccinated against COVID-19.

Even with vaccinations available to every team member, some are still skeptical or outright refuse. Because of operational and other practical concerns, Greenville Water has opted to encourage, but not require, our team members to be vaccinated. At all times, we recognize that there are valid medical or religious reasons to refuse vaccination.

Greenville Water is adopting the following policy, practices, and procedural change to provide the best and earliest safe transition back to normalcy and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts’ guidance. It is understood that these policies, practices and procedures may change and be adapted to reasonably accommodate special needs team members.

Fully Vaccinated Team Members

Fully vaccinated team members will no longer be required to wear a properly fitted mask or socially distance when in their office or vehicle with another fully vaccinated team member. Fully vaccinated team members must continue to wear a properly fitted mask if anyone is in their office or company vehicle which is not fully vaccinated.

Greenville Water team members who work in a cubicle or open office must continue to wear a mask until such time as all members within the designated area are fully vaccinated. Team members can receive a Greenville Water lapel pin upon being vaccinated. Team members are encouraged to wear their pins to demonstrate their commitment to vaccination but are not required to wear the lapel pin.

Non-Vaccinated Team Members

Non-vaccinated team members (and partially vaccinated) team members must continue to follow the existing Greenville Water COVID-19 protocols involving mask-wearing and social distancing.

 Greenville Water Human Resource Policies for Hiring, Promotions and Advancements

There has been concern about Greenville Water Human Resources policy changes regarding vaccinations and hiring, promotions and advancements. Because of the wide variety of occupations and positions within Greenville Water, it would be impossible to address each unique circumstance. Good faith efforts by supervisors may have caused some confusion about our COVID-19 policies. Going forward, only the Human Resources Department will handle matters related to COVID-19 policies and employment practices to avoid further confusion.

Please contact the Human Resources Department directly with any concerns about vaccines and employment.

It is most important to state that Greenville Water continues to comply with all existing federal and state statutes related to COVID-19 employment practices. Most importantly, Greenville Water is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sex or sexual orientation, disability or veteran status.

Greenville Water is proud of the steps we have already taken to increase voluntary participation, such as:

  1. Educating Greenville Water team members with the most current data showing the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
  2. Promoting acceptance of the vaccine by trusted members of the workforce and the local community through social media and in-person persuasion.
  3. Offering to pay for any costs associated with vaccination so that it is free to team members.
  4. Setting up workplace vaccination clinics and not requiring team members to clock out while visiting the clinic so that it is quick, easy and no-cost to team members.
  5. Granting team members paid time off to get vaccinated (even where long lines may mean several hours away from work).
  6. Promoting acceptance of the vaccine is a selfless act that protects co-workers and their families.
  7. Visibly leading from the top so that executives and senior managers are presented as role models for participating in the vaccination program.
  8. Recognizing the workforce’s efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.

Greenville Water will continue to support our customers, team members, and community in a healthy return to normalcy.

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Greenville Water provides service to more than 500,000 residents of the Upstate region of South Carolina. Recognizing that water service is critical to the health and well-being of its customers and for the growth and economic vitality of the community, Greenville Water ensures the reliable delivery of high-quality water through careful stewardship of its resources. Greenville Water is committed to providing exceptional service and utilizing safe and effective methods for providing water, while adhering to and surpassing health and safety standards. Governed by an elected Commission of Public Works, Greenville Water is the state’s largest water utility.