Half of employers to require vaccination, Delta sparks doubts over workplace return

Filed under: covid-19,News,The Economy |

The number US employers requiring Covid-19 vaccinations is set to surge as concerns about the Delta variant grow, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson. It found 52% of US employers could have one or more vaccine mandates in the workplace by the fourth quarter. Right now, only 21% require vaccinations.

Delta variant surge causes concern.

These range from requiring vaccination for employees to access common areas such as cafeterias to requiring vaccination for a subset of employees to a requirement for all employees.

Willis Towers Watson’s survey found 29% of employers are planning or considering making vaccination a requirement to gain access to the workplace, and 21% are planning or considering vaccination as a condition of employment for all employees.

The Delta variant has made employers take new actions to keep their workers — and workplaces — safe and healthy. We expect even more employers to institute vaccine mandates in the wake of FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz MD, population health leader, Willis Towers Watson.

In terms of vaccination status tracking, 59% are currently doing so and another 19% are planning to later this year. Of those requiring vaccinations, 62% require proof of vaccination such as completed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards while 36% rely on employees to self-report.

To bolster vaccination efforts, 17% of firms are offering financial incentives for employees to get vaccinated. Cash payments from $100 to $199 are the most common.

Other findings in the survey:

  • 80% of employers require employees to wear masks indoors at any location.
  • 75% use workplace exposure tracing to alert employees to potential exposure.
  • 39% expect their organizations won’t reach a new normal in terms of returning to the workplace until the second quarter of 2022.

The survey took place between Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 and included 961 employers in the US that employ 9.7 million workers.

Delta variant sparks increased concerns over return to the workplace

More workers are wary of returning to the office with the Covid-19 Delta variant in circulation, according to a report by The Conference Board. It found that 42% of workers are worried about returning to the workplace for fear of contracting Covid, up from June when only 24% had that concern.

“With headlines about the rise of the Delta variant, breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, and an overburdened healthcare system in much of the country, Covid-19 concerns that were subsiding just two months ago have risen,” said Rebecca Ray, executive VP of human capital at The Conference Board.

Women, at 48%, were more concerned than men, 37% about returning to the office. The Conference Board’s survey also found that 46% of women were concerned about exposing family members to Covid-19 while 40% of men were. However, more women, 25%, said they were under pressure to return to the workplace to keep their jobs than men, 15%.

Millennials were more concerned about contracting Covid-19 personally, 53%, than members of Gen X, 41%, and baby boomers, 45%.

Millennials were also more concerned about exposing family members, 61%, than Gen X, 42%, and baby boomers, 40%.

In addition, The Conference Board’s survey found that 29% of respondents are unsure if they will remain at their current job for the next six months.

The survey included more than 2,400 US workers.

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