Firefighter paramedic Cuevas (R) administers a Covid-19 vaccination dose to a person during a vaccination event at Culver City Fire Department Station 1 on August 5, 2021 in Culver City, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images
As more and more people return to the workplace after months of working from home, the issue of one’s vaccination status becomes more and more relevant and in more and more cases a condition of employment.
In both the US and Europe, there are a growing number of jobs and sectors that now require people to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 – not just in the more obvious public functions like healthcare and education, but also in technology, hospitality, travel and financial sectors.
When the Covid vaccine rollout began in the US and Europe about nine months ago, the majority of the workforce had to wait in line to get an injection, with the elderly and health workers taking priority.
But vaccinations in high-income countries have since become more accessible to all adults, and employers have encouraged their staff to get vaccinated, both for the health of their employees and to get their businesses back on track.
As vaccination campaigns spread to the remaining parts of society that have not yet been vaccinated – mainly adolescents – those adults who remain unvaccinated may find it increasingly difficult to return to work or find work in some sectors and companies.
Less leeway for jobs
The net continued to shut down on unvaccinated people last week, with President Joe Biden warning that “patience is running out” on unvaccinated people, especially as the number of Covid cases in the US remains high as the highly contagious delta … variety spreads.
In a significantly stricter tone last Thursday, Biden outlined a plan to increase Covid vaccination rates across the country, pressure private employers to immunize their staff and impose the shots on federal employees, contractors and health professionals.
The proportion of job openings requiring vaccination has skyrocketed since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Aug. 23, according to job site Indeed, showing a growing trend among employers requiring candidates to be fully qualified. be vaccinated.
“A few weeks ago, job postings on Indeed requiring vaccination started booming and have since accelerated,” noted AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, adding that in the seven days through August 30, the share job openings per million specifically needing vaccination against Covid increased 119% from the previous month.
Vacancies requiring vaccination but not specifying Covid followed the same trend, up 242% over the same period. Nevertheless, Indeed noted that such jobs requiring vaccination represented less than 1% of all job postings on its site, although it indicated that number could rise
Read more: As many return to the office, tensions flare between the ‘vaxxed and unvaxxed’
In the seven days ending August 30, the share of job openings per million people recommending, rather than mandating, vaccination rose 40% month over month.
“With the number of Delta variant cases on the rise, employers are no doubt wondering how they can keep their business recovery on track. Vaccine requirements are one way to keep staff and customers safer and business operations going,” Konkel noted.
“In the coming weeks, it will be important to see if job openings that encourage vaccination lose ground to those who need shots. Employers who advertise no vaccination are likely betting that their stance will give them an edge in finding employees. .. but some experts would argue it has detrimental public health implications,” she said.
What jobs want vaccination?
In some industries, the number of job openings requiring vaccination has risen dramatically, although Indeed job data shows that those requiring immunization remain a small fraction of the total job supply.
Given the frontline nature of the industries, the percentage of job openings requiring vaccination in the personal care and home health care sector increased 333% in the month to August 30 and increased 326% in the community and social services sector, Indeed data showed .
But other sectors also saw mandatory vaccination appear in more vacancies.
For example, the percentage of vacancies requiring vaccination in the legal sector increased by 210% in the month to August 30, increased by 146% in the education sector, increased by 219% in the administrative assistance sector and increased by 180% in the media and communications sector. -industry.
Statewide, Arizona led the nation in job postings requiring vaccination, while Washington state was in second place. Regionally, the West Coast and New England had a slightly higher share of job openings requiring vaccination than other parts of the country.
“While the delta variant is wreaking havoc, vaccination rates are increasing. But with winter approaching, some employers are taking matters into their own hands by mandating vaccination. Vacancies requiring vaccination are spread across different sectors and geographies. “Time will tell how much further this trend goes. At the same time, a small but growing number of job seekers, particularly in nursing, are seeking opportunities that do not require vaccination,” Konkel said.
Am I obliged to be vaccinated?
McDonald’s is among the companies announcing that it will require its US-based office workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
SOPA images | Light Rocket | Getty Images
The influential US lobbying group the AARP notes that an increasing number of people — both those looking for a job and those currently employed — are wondering whether they should get a Covid vaccination if they want to keep their jobs:
“The short answer: yes. An employer can mandate vaccination if you want to continue working there. But there are important exceptions for potential disability concerns and for religious beliefs that prohibit vaccinations,” the AARP noted. end of August.
“As many Americans are still hesitant to get vaccinated even as the delta variant spreads, more employers are telling employees to either be vaccinated or adhere to a strict testing regimen, wear masks and take physical distance if they return. wanting to work. Refusal to get vaccinated can lead to job loss and may also make a person ineligible for unemployment benefits.”
What employers should do?
As millions of people return to the office after months of working from home, there are growing reports of tensions between vaccinated and unvaccinated workers.
Employment experts say it is vital for employers to communicate openly and clearly with employees about their vaccination expectations and safety protocol before returning to the workplace.
“Employers should provide their employees with adequate notice of return to work dates, vaccination requirements, on-site work rules and housing procedures,” Anthony Mingione, an employment attorney and partner in the New York office of law firm Blank Rome, told The Washington City Times last week. .
“Effective communication also includes conveying expectations for workplace decorum, reminding employees of their co-workers’ privacy rights, and ensuring the consequences of violations are understood in advance. Employers must also be equipped to address the issues that arise. occur when worker availability is impacted by lack of childcare or school closures, immunocompromised family members or Covid-19 quarantines. Beyond following the law, the most important thing in resolving conflicts is applying policies consistently” , he said.
Lucy Lewis, partner at global HR attorneys Lewis Silkin, noted that for employers dealing with their employees’ persistent hesitation against vaccines, it would be best for companies to establish open lines of dialogue between employee and employer.
“Our experience is that the most successful way to start the discussion about vaccination requirement has been to be open to active listening: encourage employees to share their reasons for not being vaccinated. In some cases, there may be a real be underlying reason [e.g. medical] why vaccination is not possible and in those cases alternative measures can be taken [e.g. regular testing for office attendance]she noted.
In any case, such discussions provide an opportunity to encourage vaccination by explaining why it is important, Lewis said, “and ensuring that unwilling workers rely on reliable sources for vaccine safety information.”