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A quarter of US workers would quit in face of COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Gen Z and millennials are particularly unhappy about sharing their vaccination status.

Ian McCawley

COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Credit: LELIA MILAYA via Twenty20.

Unleash Your PotentialThis is according to a study of 630 US workers carried out by Paychex.

The battle for employees’ hearts, minds and health is highlighted by new research into COVID-19 vaccine mandates published today.

According to a poll by HR software and services company Paychex, almost a quarter of employees (24%) say they would leave their current company if it demanded they had proof of a COVID-19 vaccination before returning to their work premises.

The study of 630 US-based, full-time employees, which was launched in partnership with HR expert Jeanne Meister and HR advisory firm Future Workplace, discovered that younger generations are particularly uncomfortable about vaccine mandates.

Nearly one in three (31%) Gen Z participants (born 1997 to 2012) and 27% of Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) would quit, compared to just 12% of Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964).

Spotlight on workplace COVID-19 policies

Alison Stevens, director of HR Services, Paychex, stated: “Planning and implementing in-person work policies has been a moving target for HR professionals for months.

“As employees’ comfort levels shift based on rising COVID-19 cases and new variants, employers will need to respond accordingly.”

Asking employees about current and potential future safety measures implemented by their employers, the survey also revealed that 41% are currently mandated to wear a mask regardless of their COVID-19 vaccine status and 27% are being asked for proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.

In addition, 37% say they don’t need an incentive to be vaccinated, as they have already been jabbed, while 27% of workers who haven’t been jabbed said a financial reward would make it more attractive.

Meanwhile, 31% of employees polled say their comfort level with in-person work has decreased due to the widespread COVID-19 Delta variant.

Meister noted: “Surging COVID-19 cases tied to the Delta variant are igniting safety concerns.”

Therefore, it is no surprise that some “workers are looking for their employers to prioritize implementation and communication of safety measures such as mask mandates, physical distancing, and proof of vaccination.”

More mandates on the way

The poll comes as a growing number of companies – from Google to Goldman Sachs – are mandating vaccinations.

Separate research by Willis Towers Watson found 21% of US employers have currently implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The survey also revealed 52% of firms polled will have at least one COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place by the end of 2021.

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