Very few employers plan to drop vaccine mandate after Supreme Court ruling
More than one-third of U.S. employers still plan to implement a vaccine mandate despite the Supreme Court’s rejection of a federal rule that would have required workers to get shots or periodic tests.
Thirty-five percent of companies polled by Gartner Inc. last week said the court’s Jan. 13 ruling won’t derail their plans to require vaccinations, compared with just 4% that said they’re now dropping their mandate. A further 29% haven’t made a decision yet, while 12% said they’re now less likely to impose a requirement.
The results illustrate the divisiveness of the issue within corporate boardrooms as employers weigh whether mandates could prompt anger and staff defections. Many companies, buffeted by soaring absenteeism caused by the omicron variant, have decided to go ahead with a vaccine requirement, and almost 40% of employers polled by Gartner agreed that a mandate could attract workers. Yet about one in four executives said it would do the opposite.
“What is more attractive — to have a mandate or not?” Brian Kropp, Gartner’s chief of human resources research, said in an interview before the poll was conducted. “Most are not exactly sure what to do.”
Corporate strategies have varied. General Electric Co. was the first major company to halt its plans to implement a vaccine mandate after the Supreme Court ruling, while another industrial heavyweight, Honeywell International Inc., said it would stick to its vaccination policy. The Biden administration’s rule required employers with 100 or more workers to make them get vaccinated or be tested regularly, potentially at their own expense.
The Supreme Court’s decision to block the requirement was a victory for 26 business groups, led by the National Federation of Independent Business, and 27 Republican-led states. They sued to challenge the policy from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, saying it exceeded the workplace-safety agency’s authority.