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Fall 2021 COVID-19 Vaccination and Reopening the Workplace Survey results

Preview the latest findings

December 2, 2021

On January 4, 2022, OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for companies in the U.S. with 100+ employees may go into effect, depending on how the legal challenges to the Standard pan out. Our survey reveals how organizations like yours respond.
Health and Benefits|Talent
COVID 19 Coronavirus
Majority of employers to mandate employee vaccinations only if federal requirements upheld - Description Below

*On December 17, a federal appeals court reinstated the ETS that requires employers with at least 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, reversing a previous ruling. The final decision on the ETS may rest with the Supreme Court.

A third of employers are waiting to require vaccinations. 32% plan to require vaccinations only if the Executive Order (EO) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standard (OSHA ETS) takes effect; 25% will implement mandates regardless of federal requirements; 33% will adopt testing options in OSHA ETS rather than implement mandates.

Support for financial incentives fades: 75% offer no financial incentives while another 14% have discontinued or planned to discontinue incentives; 11% offer incentives with no end date; 3% have either a health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated employees or premium reduction for vaccinated employees

While 31% of employers are very concerned that the vaccine mandates will prompt resignations, mandates do not appear to play a large role in talent recruitment or retention. Only 13% said mandates led to some employees resigning, while an equal percent (13%) reported mandates helped with recruitment or retention*(*Findings as of November 2021)

Additional efforts to protect workers returning to the workplace: 84% of employers offer or plan to offer testing, most on a weekly basis; 90% require or plan to require masks to be worn indoors.

Employees capable of working remotely have at least partially returned to the workplace in four-fifths of organizations. Key factors influencing employers’ decisions: public health recommendations 79%; state regulations and recommendations 74%; business needs 71%; physical layout of office space 68%; community transmission rates in the local areas 59%.

Actions to consider: Proceed with mandate or testing program preparations while awaiting court rulings on the EO and ETS. Develop a process to review requests for medical and religious exemptions. Develop a testing strategy. Determine who you will test, the frequency, the type of test and who will pay for testing. Develop quarantine guidelines for those directly exposed to COVID-19. Make mask wearing mandatory in indoor workspaces. Continuously monitor factors that influence decisions around remote work policies.

About the survey: a total of 543 U.S. employers employing 5.2 million workers participated in the Fall 2021 COVID-19 Vaccination and Reopening the Workplace Survey, which was conducted November 12 to 18 2021. 28% of the respondents are federal contractors.

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