Vaccine mandates will likely become part of the new normal for the majority of U.S. companies. According to a survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson, 57% of U.S. employers already require or are planning to require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
The Willis Towers Watson Fall 2021 COVID-19 Vaccination and Reopening the Workplace Survey found that 18% of employers currently require vaccinations for their employees, and 7% plan to do so. Another 32% say they will require vaccinations only if OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard, which is currently under review in the courts, goes into effect.
Organizations are continuing to navigate the “new normal,” with just over a quarter (29%) saying they have returned to the workplace and ended pandemic-related policies. Conversely, about the same amount (28%) don’t expect to reach this point until the third quarter of 2022 or beyond. Employers plan to employ additional tactics to ensure the safety of their workforce, including testing (84%) and indoor mask wearing (90%).
Still, there are new fears that vaccine mandates could cause a spike in resignations. About one in three (31%) employers planning mandates are very concerned they might contribute to resignations, even though very few (3%) employers with current vaccine mandates have reported an increase. On a positive note, nearly half of respondents (48%) believe these mandates could instead help recruit employees and lead them to stay.
Jeff Levin-Scherz, M.D., population health leader, Willis Towers Watson, advises employers to proceed with plans to implement the vaccine mandate. “Much has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Yet vaccination, masking, distancing, and better ventilation remain essential in protecting workers from the virus and its variants.”