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The responses indicate vaccinated American workers are calling for more punitive measures against their unvaccinated counterparts.
More than four in 10 working Americans believe those who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 should be paying higher health insurance premiums, according to a nationwide study released Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Eagle Hill Consulting, indicates American employees are growing increasingly supportive of punitive actions for their unvaccinated counterparts. More than half (51%) of those surveyed said unvaccinated employees should be barred from work travel, up from 44% in April, while 63% say nonvaccinated employees should not be given special allowances to work from home, up from 55% in April.
Among those surveyed, support for employers terminating relationships with unvaccinated employees increased 7% since April.
The survey comes days after the Food and Drug Administration granted approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and as some large companies crack down on the unvaccinated. Delta Air Lines, for example, announced it would increase health insurance premiums $200 per month for unvaccinated employees beginning in the fall, and some private-sector companies are now requiring the vaccine. Meanwhile, the Biden administration indicated it would soon enforce more stringent vaccine mandates on federal employees, while the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Wednesday ordered troops to get vaccinated immediately.
“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people,” Austin said in a memo directed to military leaders.
The survey, which polled more than 1,000 employees, indicates increased concern among working Americans returning to the workplace. More than 60% said they would take extra precautions at work due to the delta strain, and 58% believe employers should ask workers’ vaccination statuses. Nearly two-thirds (63%) believe employers should institute additional precautions for unvaccinated employees, and 67% say employers should mandate temperature checks. About three-quarters of those surveyed said employers should require the use of masks indoors.
“The key for employers is to remain flexible and listen to employee views so they are best positioned to navigate through even more COVID-19 uncertainty,” said Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting president and chief executive officer. “It’s even more important for employers to fully understand what employees want given the acute labor shortage. Unlike the early days of the pandemic, workers aren’t afraid to quit their jobs. Retaining talent means creating a culture and work environment–virtual or in person–that is aligned with employee preferences.”
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