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More than half of U.S. employers, 54%, already have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate or are strongly considering one, according to a recent survey by McGriff, a subsidiary of Truist Insurance Holdings Inc.
The broker said Friday that the survey taken earlier this month shows that more employers were already leaning toward a mandate, whereas in a previous survey in January, only 3% of employers told McGriff they were planning on a vaccine mandate.
The Instant Insights COVID-19 vaccine mandate survey conducted by the McGriff Employee Benefits Division showed that 11% of the 315 employers surveyed had already implemented, or were in the process of implementing, a vaccine mandate.
More than a third, 36%, of companies still considering a mandate at the time of the Sept. 1 survey said that a significant increase in COVID-19 medical claims costs among non-vaccinated employees would be the most likely reason to move forward with a mandate.
Almost as many, 35% of employers, said an increase in local COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations would be their No. 1 decision-making factor, while 31% of respondents said an outbreak in the workplace would be the top consideration in making their decision.
The survey also found that at least 45% of companies are providing additional paid leave due to COVID-19 quarantines beyond normal paid time off and while some are beginning to make the paid leave contingent upon vaccination status, with 9% already doing so and 29% considering it.
The survey also found that 12% of employers are either already providing an incentive to vaccinated employees or are planning to do so while 19% were weighing that option.
Only 29% of employers said they would not consider a vaccine mandate or surcharge/incentive policy under any circumstances.
The U.S. regulatory approval of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine last month has prompted a growing number of employers to adopt mandates as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, McGriff said.
Nick Pearce, manager of the McGriff Employee Benefits Insights and Analytics group, said in the Friday statement the group wanted to see how employer attitudes toward the vaccination status of their workforce were affected by the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
“When compared with what employers told us in January, I think the message is clear. Now that the vaccine has been proven safe and effective, many employers want to ensure the safety of their workforce and get back to doing business,” Mr. Pearce said in the statement.
President Biden has announced a new federal rule that all businesses with 100 or more employees must ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID-19 or submits to weekly testing for the coronavirus, reports NPR. Among the other steps, Biden also announced that federal workers and contractors will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, as well as health care workers and teachers and staff at federally funded schools.