Despite Supreme Court Block, Just 4% of Employers Plan to Drop Vaccine Mandate

There may no longer be an enforceable federal mandate for vaccinations across large businesses, but some companies are still upholding similar rules for their staff.

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court voted against the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the mandate overstepped the authority of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The mandate would have required large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly tests across all staff.

35% of leaders said the decision had no impact in their move to mandate vaccines across staff, while 14% said they still planned to require testing without vaccine. 14% said they would wait and see what to do next.

39% of employers said they already had implemented a vaccine mandate even before the decision.

Within retail, many companies have implemented their own rules as others await guidance on how to proceed, which could vary depending on their home states. VF Corporation, Columbia Sportswear Co. and TJX Companies have all said they will fire office-based employees who do not receive the vaccine by a certain date. Nike is reported to have a similar policy.

Other companies including Under Armour, Walmart and Saks Fifth Avenue are requiring vaccines among office staff as well, though most have not included store employees in these requirements.

In some cases, employers are also requiring the booster shot. According to the Gartner poll, one fifth of organizations consider the booster a necessary component to being fully vaccinated.

In terms of communication, 42% of leaders said they had not communicated any changes or updates to employees, while 33% said they had given updates about how they would respond to the ruling.

Almost one third of business leaders said they expect to see fewer people coming to worksites and offices, given the court decision. However, almost half said they don’t expect any impact.

In general, retail groups rejoiced in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, which experts argued could have exacerbated existing labor shortages across the industry for retailers who already have a shrinking pool of talent to choose from.

According to a September study from Goldman Sachs, about 7 million U.S. workers have reported that they will not get vaccinated, even with a mandate, which would negatively impact hiring. According to a survey from Qualtrics, 44% of employees say they would consider leaving their jobs if vaccines were mandated and 23% would strongly consider leaving.

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