More than half of U.S. employers could make vaccines mandatory for their workers by the fourth quarter, according to a new survey by insurance broker Willis Towers Watson.

The survey, conducted Aug. 18-25, found that by the fourth quarter of 2021, 52 percent of U.S. employers could have one or more vaccine requirements in the workplace—a sharp increase from the current 21 percent. Nearly a third (29 percent) of employers are planning or considering making vaccination a requirement to gain access to the workplace, while 21 percent are planning or considering vaccination as a condition of employment for all employees.

Employer tracking of vaccinations is also increasing, the survey found. Currently, 59 percent of employers said they track their workers’ vaccination status, and another 19 percent are planning or considering doing so later this year. The majority (62 percent) of those require proof of vaccination, while 36 percent rely on employees to self-report.

A number of organizations (17 percent) are offering financial incentives for getting vaccinated, with another 14 percent planning or considering doing so. Cash payments from $100 to $199 are the most common financial incentive. Only 2 percent of employers currently offer a discount to vaccinated employees or impose a premium surcharge on unvaccinated employees, but another 18 percent are considering one or both approaches.

Among the other actions companies are taking as they rethink their reopening plans:

  • 80 percent require employees to wear masks indoors at any location. Another 13 percent are planning or considering doing so.
  • 75 percent use workplace exposure tracing to alert employees to potential exposure. Another 8 percent are planning or considering doing so.
  • 39 percent expect their organizations won’t reach a new normal in terms of returning to the workplace and ending pandemic-related policies and programs until the second quarter of 2022; 26 percent expect a return to the new normal in the first quarter of next year.

About the survey

A total of 961 U.S. employers participated in the survey, which was conducted between Aug. 18 and 25, 2021. Respondents employ 9.7 million workers.

Topics Trends USA Commercial Lines Business Insurance Willis Towers Watson