Employers Requiring COVID-19 Vaccines Expected to Increase

The number of employers set to mandate a COVID-19 vaccination for their employees is set to increase in the coming months. Earlier this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that all workers physically present in the workplace could require employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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According to research conducted by Willis Towers Watson, 21 percent of U.S. employers currently require vaccinations—but this number could balloon to more than 52 percent by the fourth quarter of 2021. Here are some of the latest trends surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace.

Mandating vaccines for in-office work

As the United States continues to grapple with the effects of the delta variant, businesses are beginning to institute these mandates to protect their employees. Of the employers that currently enforce a vaccine mandate, many of them require employees to be vaccinated to access common areas like cafeterias, dining halls, or conference rooms. In wake of the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, experts believe that more vaccine mandates from nationwide employers are on the way.

Vaccine requirements in job descriptions

Not only are vaccine mandates becoming more popular in the workforce, but they have also become more prevalent in job descriptions. In a study conducted by SHRM, the percentage of job postings stating that candidates must be vaccinated has doubled within the past month. While the number of job postings with this prerequisite remains low—only 1,200 postings per million require candidates to be vaccinated—expectations are that this will change as fall and winter grow nearer.

Vaccine mandates by industry

Two of the most popular industries to see rises in vaccine mandates in job descriptions are education and foodservice. According to SHRM, the share of job postings requiring vaccinations in the education sector rose from 33 in February to 2,166 in July, while the rate for food service rose from 43 in February to 814 in July. Other popular industries mandating vaccines include software development, marketing, and sales.

President Biden requiring vaccinations for federal workers

In July, the Biden administration implemented a requirement that all federal workers and onsite government contractors would need to either be vaccinated or submit to routine COVID-19 testing. The President took things one step further in early September by officially announcing that all federal workers—along with millions of government contractors—would be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This plan was unveiled through an executive order as part of a more expansive effort to hinder the spread of the virus.

Asking about vaccination status in interviews

As vaccine mandates become increasingly common throughout the country, businesses are interested in the legality of asking candidates about their vaccination status. HR managers and TA professionals should first read up on their state and local laws before inquiring about whether an applicant has been vaccinated. For example, Montana recently enacted a law prohibiting employers from asking about and requiring a vaccine. Ensure that your employees who are talking to candidates are well-educated on what they can—and cannot—say is critical to avoiding legal issues. Ultimately, it is recommended that companies avoid discussing a candidate’s vaccine status until after an offer has been made.

For more recruiting and talent acquisition trends surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, head to the COVID-19 section of our blog.

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