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

Preview the latest findings

Health and Benefits|Talent
COVID 19 Coronavirus

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.
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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