Few workers quit jobs over vaccine mandates: Research

While several surveys have shown that up to half of unvaccinated workers say they would quit if forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19, real-world data suggest few are doing so, according to an article in The Conversation, a nonprofit news organization.

Researchers cited a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published in June that showed half of employed adults said they would leave their job if their employer mandated the shot, as well as their own survey in June of 1,036 people in the U.S., which found that 16 percent of respondents said they would quit, start looking for another job or both if their employer instituted a mandate.

But researchers sampled companies that already have vaccine mandates in place and found the actual number of workers who do resign over the vaccine is much smaller than the survey data indicate.

Specifically, they cited Houston Methodist, which rolled out its mandatory vaccination policy March 31, with April 15 as the deadline for managers to receive at least one dose or get an exemption. More than 99 percent of the management team had complied by that deadline. By June 7, all 26,000 employees were required to comply. Those who did not comply were suspended for two weeks.

In the end, a total of 153 Houston Methodist employees either resigned during a two-week suspension period or were terminated June 22 for not complying with the health system's mandate.

The researchers also cited Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health, where 125 of the system's 36,000 employees left the organization after choosing not to receive the vaccine.

"In other words, vaccine mandates are unlikely to result in a wave of resignations — but they are likely to lead to a boost in vaccination rates," the researchers wrote.

To minimize the number of workers who quit over mandates, researchers said employers should work on building trust with workers and make it easy for workers to get vaccinated. 

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