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Most U.S. employers will not require workers to be vaccinated before entering the workplace

Health and Benefits
COVID 19 Coronavirus

June 15, 2021

Willis Towers Watson survey finds employers taking a range of actions to encourage vaccinations

ARLINGTON, VA, June 15, 2021 — As U.S. employers continue their efforts to encourage workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, most (72%) will not require or do not plan to require vaccination before entering the workplace, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. Among employers requiring or considering requiring vaccination, more than half (56%) will require documented proof of vaccination. Nearly one in five (19%) will require or consider requiring vaccinations for certain workplace privileges such as indoor gyms and cafeterias.

The survey, conducted between May 19 and May 28 also found that employers are pursuing a wide range of initiatives to encourage employee inoculation. More than eight in 10 respondents (86%) are offering scheduling flexibility, and 82% are communicating to employees about the value of vaccination. Also, 40% have implemented programs to boost vaccination among populations less likely to get vaccinated, and another 21% are considering doing so.

“By encouraging vaccinations, employers are demonstrating their commitment to employee safety and wellbeing,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, M.D., population health leader, Willis Towers Watson. “Taking various approaches and using clear, targeted communications about the importance of vaccination will enable employers to protect employees, their families and the community. It will also help speed the transition to a post-pandemic future.”

The survey identified steps employers are taking as workplaces reopen:

  • Six in 10 employers (62%) are providing or considering providing pay for time spent getting vaccinated (e.g., extra leave or vacation time).
  • More than half of employers (59%) are performing or considering onsite or near-site vaccine administration for employees.
  • More than half of employers (58%) are offering or considering offering additional leave for any employee who has negative reactions from the vaccine.
  • Two in 10 respondents are offering or considering providing financial incentives for getting vaccinated.
  • A majority of employers are requiring both vaccinated (52%) and unvaccinated (69%) employees to wear masks indoors.

“While the lessons of COVID-19 are still unfolding, employers have already learned the ability to adapt and be flexible is essential. For instance, we expect many employers will relax their current mask-wearing policies if data confirms a low level of risk to people who are fully vaccinated. By keeping abreast of the latest developments, employers can continue to play a vital role in boosting vaccination while also creating the safest workplaces possible,” concluded Dr. Levin-Scherz.

About the survey

A total of 660 employers participated in the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Vaccination and Reopening the Workplace Survey, which was conducted between May 19 and May 28, 2021. Respondents employ 5.3 million workers.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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