- Employers in the manufacturing and retail/hospitality industries are the least likely to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees, according to an Aug. 23 report from law firm Littler.
- While 21% of respondents — 1,630 in-house lawyers, C-suite executives and human resources professionals in the U.S. — said they require or plan to require vaccination, manufacturing and retail/hospitality came in at 8% and 9%, respectively. Healthcare employers were the most likely to implement a mandate, at 36%.
- Respondents in manufacturing and retail/hospitality expressed a high level of concern about resistance from employees, the impact on culture and morale and loss of staff, according to Litter.
As a new wave of the pandemic appeared imminent, employer hesitancy to mandate vaccination seemed to wane. Major names like Tyson and Microsoft rolled out requirements for on-site employees, for example. Still, many only encouraged workers to get vaccinated, hoping incentives and time off for vaccination would increase uptake.
Concerns about morale and other issues remain, as Littler pointed out. But employers should rest assured that mandates remain legal, the firm said. Assuming employers are prepared to make necessary exceptions, "vaccine mandates have held up in recent court decisions, including rulings involving Indiana University's right to mandate vaccinations for students and Houston Methodist Hospital's ability to require shots for healthcare workers," according to Littler.
Moreover, Litter's survey was conducted in early August, before the government granted full approval of Pfizer's vaccine. Now that employees have an option outside of emergency use authorization, more employers likely will mandate vaccination, sources recently told HR Dive.
The White House recently called on private employers to mandate vaccination as a means of bringing the pandemic to an end. "If you're a business, a nonprofit, a state or local leader who's been waiting for full and final FDA approval before you put vaccination requirements in place, now is the time," Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said at a press briefing Aug. 24.