New survey reveals employee attitudes for workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies and approaches
Three in five United States employees – working for companies without a COVID-19 vaccination policy – believe their companies should create one, and almost half say they won’t feel comfortable returning to work unless at least 50% of all employees are vaccinated. This is according to a new study commissioned by Padilla and conducted by its research division, SMS Research Advisors.
Employees want clarity, whether they believe in mandatory vaccinations or not, according to the survey. For surveyed employees working for companies with existing vaccination policies, 85% of employees supported the approach.
Almost half of employees working for companies with 1,000 or fewer coworkers, want 75% or more of their coworkers vaccinated before they return to the workplace. In general, organizations are not requiring their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This is especially true for smaller organizations, where the idea of employees getting a vaccine has met more resistance.
“There’s an emotional underpinning that’s driving the quest for clarity around company COVID-19 vaccination policies,” said Matt Kucharski, Padilla president. “This pandemic has been accompanied by a deluge of conflicting information, uncertainty and ambiguity, so the desire for a clear policy – even if it’s not one that they agree with – is understandable.”
Employers should be prepared for disputes likely to arise between employees who want a high level of vaccination at their workplaces and those who want it to be a personal choice. The most common opposition to a mandatory workplace vaccination policy comes from employees who want to receive a vaccine, but do not think their employer should require it – and those who oppose the vaccine altogether and do not want their employer to require it.
“Some want vaccines to be mandatory, some want it to be a personal choice, and there are still some anti-vaxxers out there,” Kucharski said. “The challenge is that they’ll be sitting right next to each other in the workplace and companies will need to manage that.”
Incentives to vaccinate do not appear to be motivators for employees – only one in three employees indicate an interest in their companies offering an incentive to vaccinate while others appear to believe immunity itself is enough incentive.
When survey participants were asked – in general, what is their opinion of COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace – responses included differing opinions:
Pro-workplace vaccination policy:
- I think vaccinations should be mandatory for any job that requires human-to-human interaction.
- I think everyone should get it because if they don’t, we will be in this situation for a very long time.
- I think if employees want to come back to the office, they should be required to get the vaccination first.
- This is a public health crisis and companies should be doing everything possible to protect their workers and their families.
- I am very excited about the COVID-19 vaccination and believe having workplaces developing policies around vaccine requirements is a way we can get back to normal more quickly.
Anti-workplace vaccination policy:
- They should not be mandatory. People have a right to work and a right to choose what goes in their bodies; to be forced into a vaccination is wrong.
- Workplaces that are not in health care should not be able to force you to have any vaccinations.
- It should NOT be in the workplace. It is crossing the line of HIPAA.
- It is a personal matter. If I choose not to take it, I should not be hearing negative feedback from superiors.
- I personally want to get the vaccine, but I don’t feel that a company has the right to choose for individuals’ health and make them get the vaccine.
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