HRE’s number of the day: employer vaccine mandates

Nearly half of organizations are moving forward with COVID-19 vaccine mandate plans for their employees, according to recent research from Gartner. The research and consulting firm’s pulse survey of more than 250 employers–which was conducted Nov. 16 during a webinar–found that about half of employers have a vaccine mandate in place for their employees or are moving forward with one. Another 34% say they will give employees the choice of being vaccinated or tested. Meanwhile, 16% say they haven’t decided and just 2% say they do not plan mandate vaccination.

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What it means for HR leaders

The Gartner survey is the latest evidence that employer vaccine mandates are growing despite the uncertain future of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for organizations, which originally was set to go into effect Jan. 4. In fact, 38% of executives polled say the appeals court ruling to put the vaccine mandate on hold has no impact on their COVID vaccination decisions, and that they are still planning to put a mandate in place. Another 16% say they are still planning to put a testing regime in place regardless of the outcome of the ruling. A third (33%) say it is too early to tell.

Last month, a federal appeals court temporarily halted the Biden administration’s rule, which required employers with 100 or more workers to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for their workers–or offer a weekly testing alternative to those who refuse or are unable to receive a vaccine. As a result, the Labor Department’s OSHA said it is suspending enforcement of the Biden administration’s employer vaccine rule.

Related: With vaccine mandate in flux, communication with employees is vital

Experts say although the future of the mandate is unclear, many organizations will likely move forward with more aggressive vaccination plans regardless, as the Gartner research also demonstrates.

“When the mandates were announced, companies took action to comply. Many shifted from encouraging to requiring vaccinations,” Carol Morrison, senior research analyst at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), told HRE recently. “Growing numbers of employers also “view following through with vaccination mandates as a means of providing safe and healthy working conditions while helping to reduce the threat of more COVID outbreaks.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.