U.S. Employers Lean Toward Required COVID-19 Vaccinations

HR & Safety

A November study of companies across the country found more than half of employers plan to require that employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Fifty-seven percent of businesses that responded to the Willis Towers Watson survey, which employ more than 5.2 million workers, said they already require or plan to mandate employee vaccinations. 

The survey found that 18% of surveyed companies required vaccinations, while 32% were waiting on legal challenges to OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard, which mandates workplace vaccinations at companies with 100 or more employees. 

If it stands, those companies said they will require their employees to get the vaccine. Regardless of what happens in court, 7% said they plan to mandate vaccinations soon. 

“This is an encouraging national outlook that many companies are figuring out the best way for them to move forward based on their needs, culture, and vaccination rates among other things,” said CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima. 

“While we do not appreciate businesses being put in the middle of enforcing a government mandate on their employees, we know vaccines are the best way to fight the pandemic and build back the economy.”

Vaccination Rates

Some surveyed companies report low vaccination rates.

Nineteen percent believe their vaccination rate was less than 50%, while 33% reported that over three fourths of their workforce was vaccinated.

One-third of companies reported that three-fourths of their workforce was vaccinated.

CBIA’s 2021 Survey of Connecticut Businesses, produced in collaboration with Marcum LLP, found at as of mid-September, 24% of companies had workforces that were 100% fully vaccinated.

Another 42% reported 75%-99% vaccination rates and 17% between 50%-74%.

Only 9% of surveyed employers had implemented a vaccine mandate at the time of the survey.

Labor Shortage

Finding skilled workers remains a top concern in Connecticut, and across the country.

One in three employers that responded to the Willis Towers Watson survey were concerned the mandate will contribute to employee resignations. 

Nearly half of employers believe mandates may help recruit and retain employees. Of the companies who have implemented mandates, 3% reported a spike in resignations. 

About 25% of employers will require that unvaccinated employees pay for testing.

Companies are addressing the testing issue regardless of vaccination status. 

The survey indicated 84% of employers will offer testing on a weekly basis. About 25% of employers will require unvaccinated employees to pay for testing, unless required by law. 

Many companies either considered or offered incentives in the fall and summer to encourage employees to get vaccinated.

That trend seems to have passed, with 75% of participants offering no such incentives, and 14% have discontinued or plan to discontinue financial incentives.

Workplace Return

Meanwhile, a majority of companies have not fully returned to the workplace. 

About three in 10 said their organizations have reached their “new normal” as it relates to being back in the workplace and ending pandemic-related policies.

A majority of companies have not fully returned to the workplace.

That same percentage do not expect to be there until at least the third quarter of 2022. 

“Employers continue to evaluate the best way to keep their workers, families and the community safe,” said Dr. Jeff Levin-Scherz, a Willis Towers Watson population health leader. 

“With the risk of COVID-19 infection higher now than a month ago, some companies have delayed bringing employees back to the worksite.”


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