Almost half of U.S. employers plan to implement COVID-19 vaccination mandates according to a new survey.

More than one-third (36%) of those organizations are unsure about mandates while 17% told the Sept. 15 Gartner survey they will not require that employees get vaccinated.

The survey follows the Biden's administration's Sept. 9 announcement that private sector firms with 100 or more employees will be required to mandate employee vaccinations.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard soon that implements the requirement, expected to impact two-thirds of the country's workforce.

“The new federal guidance, as well as the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta wave, have combined to shift executive opinion on vaccine mandates significantly since the beginning of the year,” said Gartner senior research director Chris Audet. 

“It is likely that we will see a clear majority of firms instituting mandates of some kind by the end of the year.”

Responsibility

Gartner HR chief researcher Brian Kropp said because the federal government is the voice behind it, there is less pressure on the private sector employers. 

“This shift in responsibility makes it easier for companies to implement a vaccine mandate,” he explained. 

Testing remains a question, as employers weigh their options and financials. 

"This shift in responsibility makes it easier for companies to implement a vaccine mandate."

Gartner's Brian Kropp

Gartner said organizations are split about how they will handle unvaccinated employees. 

Fifteen percent of surveyed organizations said they will part ways with non-compliant employees.

The other 85% said they will either administer testing on site, use third-party testing, or require employees to find their own tests. 

'Hesitancy Remains'

“While organizational leaders feel more confident in setting vaccine and testing policies in light of new developments, much of their original hesitancy about the drawbacks of such policies remain,” Audet said.

Despite plans to move forward with implementing the policies, Gartner said surveyed organizations are concerned about the consequences of mandating the vaccine.

More than two-thirds of organizations fear mandates will hurt already high turnover rates.

More than two-thirds (69%) of organizations fear mandates will hurt already high turnover rates.

They also expressed concerns about a mandate's impact on morale and with managing employees who oppose vaccinations.