Workplace vaccination mandates prompt risk … but so does not mandating vaccination

Workplace vaccination mandates prompt risk … but so does not mandating vaccination

The COVID-19 Delta variant's increase in H2 2021 has delayed many organisations' return-to-office plans even again. A rapidly changing regulatory environment – including President Biden's recent decision requiring all employees at organisations with 100 or more employees (totaling 80 million people) to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing – has reintroduced the debate over workplace vaccination mandates.

Nonetheless, Forrester reports that employee sentiments are far from uniform.

A new Forrester analysis provides recommendations on the evolving decision environment for vaccine mandates, the risks associated with enforcing a mandate, and the more unexpected risks connected with not enforcing one. Several key takeaways from this research include the following:

Mandatory vaccination is supported by a slim majority. While approximately 59% of Americans now support a vaccine mandate "at their own job," major segments of the population remain opposed: According to Gallup, 44% of respondents opposed a mandate.

Businesses have begun tracking and demanding immunisation. According to a poll conducted prior to President Biden's statement, 78 percent of businesses planned to track employee vaccination status, up from 55% in late August. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advice expected in the near future should help expedite these statistics.

To comply with OSHA's likely guidelines, employers will need to decide whether to require vaccination or conduct weekly drug tests. While this is a hard subject for the majority of US firms, they must decide because no decision will default to "monthly testing for the unvaccinated," as Forrester puts it. Long-term staff health should be considered, as well as the short- and long-term consumer and business benefits.

Mandatory vaccinations for employees are a reasonable strategy for US businesses to use – but one that comes with hazards. Businesses considering or implementing vaccine mandates for employees evaluate various considerations, including workplace safety, legal obligations, employee concerns, and an acceptance that mandates are not a "cure-all."