49% of working Americans believe that employers should require vaccination proof for those employees returning to the workplace.
Similarly, about half (48%) of workers agree that employers should require vaccines, while 53% of workers believe employers should offer vaccine incentives to their employees. More than one-third of workers (35%) say non-vaccinated employees should not be permitted to work in-person with co-workers.
This workforce sentiment research from Eagle Hill Consulting comes as vaccination rates ramp up across the U.S., with about 27% of Americans fully vaccinated. But, significant COVID-19 challenges remain for employers given the recent pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, increasing cases in many states, and concerns about highly infectious new variants.
The 2021 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace Survey measures employee sentiment about COVID-19 vaccines, returning to the workplace, as well as testing and safety protocols. Read the infographic here.
Conducted by Ipsos from April 7-9, this national survey includes 1,027 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. This poll follows similar research conducted from Feb 5-9, and from December 4-8, 2020.
“The good news is that the U.S. is making incredible progress when it comes to getting shots in arms, which is helping to drive business and economic recovery,” says Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting president and chief executive officer. “But, we’re continuing to see employee concerns and divided views on a wide range of COVID-19 issues, which creates an increasingly complicated situation for employers.”
“Workers remain split on employee vaccine requirements, and we’re also seeing differing views on whether workers should provide proof of vaccinations before returning to work,” Jezior added. “Another sticky issue for employers is how to handle employees who choose to remain unvaccinated – should they be permitted to interact in-person with colleagues and customers or be given special allowances to work from home?”
“The bottom line for employers – they have to keep the lines of communication open with employees and really listen and respond to their concerns. Employees know their workplace will be different, but managing any type of change is often met with resistance. The stakes are even higher when workplace changes involve employee health and safety,” Jezior explained.
In addition to split views on vaccination mandates, incentives and proof, the research finds that workers are split on how to manage unvaccinated workers.
The research also indicates that many U.S. workers feel employers should exercise caution in re-opening workplaces, with (45%) indicating employers should wait to re-open workplaces as vaccines roll out, up from 42% in February.
Across generations, workers feel differently about returning to work:
Workers anticipate that their workplace will be different when they return. When asked about the disruption of COVID-19 on the workplace:
In terms of COVID testing, most (51%) say that employers should cover the costs for any employer-mandated tests. 23% say the federal government should bear the costs, while 14% say insurance providers or state/local government (9%) should pay for required tests. Only 3% agree employees should pay.
When asked about the role employers should play with COVID-19 precautions now that vaccines are widely available, there was broad support for employer involvement.
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