By: Phillip Bauknight, Richard Meneghello and Kevin Troutman
The vast majority of employers are not considering mandating their employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, instead choosing to encourage the shot – but a significant number of businesses remain confused and uncertain on whether and how to incentivize their workers to get inoculated. That’s according to a recent survey conducted by Fisher Phillips, with 700 respondents providing their thoughts between January 26-29. While employers can dive into the firm’s Vaccine Resource Center to obtain further information and resources, a quick review of these survey results also sheds light on the thinking of other businesses when it comes to this specific challenge.
Small Percentage Of Employers Are Considering Mandating The Vaccine
Only 9% of respondents said they were considering requiring employees to take the vaccine as a condition of their employment, while 64% said they were not thinking about mandating it. Meanwhile, 27% said they were unsure what they would do.
Of those considering a mandate, agricultural and food production employers are far and away the likeliest to require it (18%). Employers in the construction (13%), healthcare (12%), hospitality (11%), and retail (10%) industries also rank near the top. Least likely to mandate the vaccine? Government employers (4%), and those in the finance and insurance (5%), professional services (5%), automotive (6%), manufacturing (7%), and education (9%) industries.
For more information on the legality of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and practical steps to consider regarding the process, we recommend you check out our recent alert: Top 7 Things You Need To Know As EEOC Says Employers May Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines.
Tremendous Uncertainty Exists Regarding Incentives
Employers have a palpable sense of uncertainty when it comes to offering incentives to get the vaccine. Close to half of all respondents (43%) are unsure about whether to offer some form of incentive to those workers who receive the vaccine, many commenting that their hesitancy is fueled by the current legal uncertainty. For more information on the risks associated with common methods of incentivizing COVID-19 vaccinations, we recommend you check out our brand-new alert: Charting The Risk Associated With Common Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive Programs.
Meanwhile, more than a third of respondents (36%) are not interested in offering incentives, with 21% indicating that they were currently planning or considering offering incentives to their vaccinated workers.
Cash, Gifts, And Paid Time Off Are Most Common Incentives
Of those employers considering incentives, the two most popular categories include cash/gifts (38%) and paid time off (30%).
When it comes to those considering cash/gifts, about a quarter of them (24%) will provide compensation worth over $100, while a similar number (22%) will consider an amount under $100. The remainder of employers are either considering nominal company swag (6% will provide company-branded merchandise such as t-shirts or water bottles, or gift cards to the company store) or unsure of what kind of gift or how much cash they will give (48%). One of the more creative cash/gifts incentives that is being considered by several respondents is a company raffle, whereby those choosing to get inoculated will be entered into a contest to win a prize such as a $1,000 cash prize, an Apple watch, or some other luxury item.
Paid Time Off
As for those employers considering providing employees with paid time off, employers are split between providing four hours or less (11%) or a full day off (11%). A very small percentage (2%) is considering offering more than one day off. As for now, however, 76% of employers considering giving PTO to their workers are unsure how much time off they will provide.
Meanwhile, 5% of employers believe it is incentive enough for them to provide onsite vaccinations to their workforce, and another 3% simply plan on covering any costs associated with the vaccine. A quarter of respondents (25%) are currently unsure what they will provide when it comes to an incentive.
Encouragement Seems To Be The Likeliest Tactic At This Point
Given the uncertainty surrounding incentives and the hesitancy to mandate vaccinations, it appears that encouraging employees to get inoculated seems to be the most common strategy that will be employed at businesses. More than three-quarters of employers (78%) say they will consider encouraging workers to get the vaccine, with only 9% saying this was not a tactic they were considering.
We will continue to monitor developments related to the COVID-19 vaccines and related workplace questions that arise. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ alert system to get the most up-to-date information. If you have questions about how to ensure that your vaccine policies comply with workplace and other applicable laws, visit our Vaccine Resource Center for Employers or contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or any attorney on our FP Vaccine Subcommittee.
Meanwhile, we will continue to survey employers on the most pressing topics of the day on a regular basis and report back on the results. To ensure you are part of the process, please subscribe to Fisher Phillips’ alert system.