It looks like American colleges won’t be alone in making vaccination mandatory for any students who want to return to campus next semester. Despite the White House’s determination that vaccination shouldn’t be mandatory by law, more than 60% of American companies are reportedly leaning toward requiring proof of vaccination from their employees.
According to a new survey from the Rockefeller Foundation, 65% of businesses will offer some kind of incentive for employees to get vaccinated, while 63% said they will require proof of vaccination before workers can return to the office.
Another 35% said disciplinary actions are on the table, including the possibility of termination, for those who refuse vaccines.
The survey, released Thursday, represents the responses of 957 businesses across 24 industries. Most of the respondents were US businesses with 250 employees or more.
Even after employees have returned to the office, testing will remain a critical piece of the safety plan provided by most employers.
Looking ahead, roughly two-thirds of employers are planning to allow employees to work from home full-time through 2021, and 73% intend to offer flexible work arrangements when the pandemic is over. However, 73% of businesses want employees to work from the office at least 20 hours a week.
“This is not just a bubble that goes back to ‘normal’, there will be some positive flexibility after the pandemic ends and we go back to in-person work,” said Mara G. Aspinall, a professor at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions and one of the authors of the survey.
As far as employee concerns go, most workers said they’re mostly worried about their personal health, risk of infection and safety of the workplace. And when it comes to returning to the office, 38% of employees want to return eventually but not immediately and about one quarter said they are reluctant to return at all.
“The pandemic has changed the traditional office environment in many ways, possibly forever, yet a majority of employers are indicating they see real value in employees continuing to interact face-to-face,” Nathaniel L. Wade, a co-author of the study who is also affiliated with ASU’s College of Health Solutions. “We really wanted to make sure we’re giving public information to help people make good decisions.”
Most employees, about 51%, would prefer to wait until the government or health agencies allow them to return to work, and about 47% said they would return to in-person work when the entire workforce is vaccinated.