70% of employees want COVID-19 vaccine required to return to offices, survey shows
U.S. employees who are working from the confines — and safety — of their homes during the pandemic appear to be satisfied to stay put, and fear that returning to the office is too risky unless their employers require all co-workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a survey published Wednesday by the employment website Glassdoor.
A fulll 70% of employees said their companies should institute a vaccine mandate before calling workers back to the office, according to the Glassdoor survey.
It's legal for employers to require the vaccine and even ban unvaccinated individuals from the workplace, with a few exemptions.
For example, employees with disabilities or "sincerely held" religious beliefs that prevent them from getting inoculated are exempt from such requirements, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the body charged with enforcing laws against workplace discrimination.
A slightly larger share of workers surveyed — 76% — said they plan to become inoculated against the COVID-19 as soon as they can acquire the vaccine, Glassdoor reported.
Roughly seven in 10 employees are also seeking incentives, including cash bonuses and extra time off, to get vaccinated, according to the survey, which polled more than 2,000 adults from February 16 to 18.
"COVID-19 has triggered a new wave of employee expectations, from incentives to get a vaccine to more flexible work options, even after it's safe to return to the office," Carina Cortez, Glassdoor's chief people officer, said in a statement Wednesday.
"Employers must take employee feedback into account to determine what is best for their workforce, including how to best support employees who plan to get the vaccine, and employees who do not," Cortez advised.
Experts recommend offering perks for vaccination — and say incentives could be even more effective than mandates.
"Give them the time — no penalty, and a bonus like a gift card — something that makes it a positive, not a negative," Bunny Ellerin, director of health care and pharmaceutical management at Columbia Business School, recently told CBS MoneyWatch.
The tire maker Bridgestone said Wednesday it will offer its 33,000 U.S. employees around the country $100 payments to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. It joins a growing group of large companies offering incentives for the shots, including Tyson Foods, the nation's biggest poultry producer, which last month said it would pay employees up to four hours of regular pay if they are vaccinated outside their regular shift or through an external source.
Other employers offering vaccinated workers additional hours of pay include Target, Aldi, Trader Joe's, Darden Restaurants, McDonald's and Dollar General. Yogurt maker Chobani is paying workers for up to six hours to get inoculated, while Amtrak is spending $3 million to give employees the equivalent of two hours of extra pay once they show they've been vaccinated.
Work where you want
The Glassdoor survey also shows that working from home has proven to be a popular, if haphazard experiment. Nearly nine in 10 respondents said they want to continue working from home, even when it's safe to return to the office.
For some workers, a return to the office could be a deal-breaker. Nearly one quarter of U.S. adults surveyed said they would consider quitting their jobs if they were called back to the workplace before all employees are vaccinated. A slightly smaller share of workers are so happy at home they said they might quit anyway should they be called back to the office, regardless of a company's vaccination policy.
For its part, Glassdoor, a job site that allows users to anonymously review companies, has a new "Work Where You Want" policy that allows employees to choose to either work from home, an office or both.
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