Study finds nearly one-third of employed Americans would still choose not to get the vaccine, even if it meant losing their jobs
As HR professionals and business leaders look to build a workplace where employees feel safe despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision of when and how to return employees to the office has been a pressing challenge. With vaccines for COVID-19 becoming available, business leaders and HR professionals will confront a new set of issues that may make the decision more complicated.
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“With this in mind, HR will manage a truly challenging situation as they contemplate: How do we safely bring people back to work, and who is coming back to the workplace?”
New research released today by SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) shows many organizations plan to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, yet a significant number of U.S. workers say they are unlikely to get vaccinated. According to SHRM’s survey of HR professionals and U.S. employees, 60 percent of workers will probably or definitely get the vaccine once it becomes available to them, while approximately 28 percent would still choose not to get the vaccine, even if it meant losing their jobs. HR professionals and organizations will have to factor in measures to account for the potentially large number of unvaccinated workers.
The report provides the HR professional and employee perspectives on the vaccine, employer and government incentives to get the vaccine, and how the pandemic has impacted remote work. Findings also highlight contrasting views on considerations that will factor into any return-to-work plan, including:
- Over a third of U.S. workers would accept a reduction in salary if it meant they could permanently work from home on a full-time basis (35 percent).
- 60 percent of organizations say they will not require the vaccine for employees, and 35 percent are unsure whether they will require the vaccine for employees.
- 74 percent of organizations that are unsure or not planning to require vaccines for their employees will still encourage their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- A third of U.S workers believe the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for everyone who is able to receive it (33 percent).
- Most organizations (88 percent) are unsure or are not offering or planning to offer any incentives to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Organization leaders, including HR professionals, are making decisions about employees returning to the worksite that will greatly affect their organizations and impact significant society issues,” said SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. “While 60 percent of organizations say they will not require the vaccination, I believe we will see employers strongly encourage vaccination in a broad range of enterprises and even consider offering employee incentives. Creating a safe workplace will be a collaborative effort between HR, business leaders and employees.”