February 10th, 2022

Should Your Business Have a Vaccine Mandate?

The Supreme Court blocked the vaccine mandate for businesses with more than a hundred employees. But the mandate for federal workers, federal contractors, and healthcare workers is in place. 

With the mandate blocked, businesses who had already started the process of requiring vaccinations—or who may want to require them—are left wondering what they can and should do. Companies currently have the right to require vaccinations or testing of their employees. However, that doesn’t mean it will be the right choice for every business. 

Everyone has an opinion on a vaccine mandate. But it’s your employees’ livelihood and well-being that is at stake. We recognize the importance of this decision you have to make as a business owner and want to help you make the right choice for your people. 

Consider a Vaccine Mandate If… 

Consider a vaccine mandate if your business has a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 based on the type of services you provide or your industry. Ultimately, vaccine mandates are there to save lives and improve the health and safety of your workplace.

If your business provides services in close contact with others it might be worth a vaccine or testing requirement. Industries that might benefit from this approach more than others include those in: 

  • Cosmetology 
  • Childcare 
  • Travel 
  • Restaurant and retail 
  • Hospitality 
  • Banking 

Consider a vaccine mandate if it would positively impact business. Some notable brands are opting to require a vaccine mandate for the positive public perception and safety it provides to customers. In other words—it’s good for business. 

If you have customers asking about your employees’ vaccination status or requiring your employees to be vaccinated to do business with you, a vaccine mandate may be financially worth it. 

Consider a vaccine mandate if you need to get employees back into the office. Higher vaccination rates could ease some workers’ concerns and encourage them to return to the workplace. With your employees stuck at home or being sent home after exposure, perhaps you’ve struggled to maintain business and improve productivity through the pandemic. A vaccine mandate could be what you need to overcome this challenge. 

The Tradeoffs of Having a Vaccine Mandate or Not

Requiring vaccination protects the health and safety of your workplace. Vaccines are one of the most effective methods to prevent the spread of illness among the public. So first and foremost, this is the most impactful benefit of a vaccine mandate. 

Some businesses with vaccine mandates are also finding it has positively impacted their recruiting and retention efforts. If you list on job descriptions that your workplace is fully vaccinated, it can help attract workers. Gallup reports that employees are more likely to favor a vaccine mandate, with 52% in favor, 38% opposed, and 10% neutral. But it’s that 38% you still need to think about. 

Employers with vaccine mandates will meet resistance from some employees. Depending on how you plan to follow through with requirements—you could lose workers. But some results show that only 3% of employers with a vaccination mandate have seen an increase in resignations. Still, if you lose just one of your most valued employees over a mandate, it might not be worth it. 

Legally, vaccine mandates get complicated. It might be easier to opt for testing requirements. Otherwise, your business will have to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who have religious or medical reasons for not getting the vaccine. And if you’re requiring the vaccine, you need to make sure you’ve taken the legal steps to establish and enforce your policy. This can create another burden on you or your human resource’s time. 

Steps to Establish a Vaccine Mandate

  1. Encourage employees to get vaccinations or boosters and to follow preventative protocols—regardless of a vaccine mandate or not. Provide time off with pay for vaccination appointments. All of these things can ensure the success of your COVID-19 vaccine policy and encourage more employees to participate:
    • If you can, make the vaccine and boosters available at work for free
    • Pay for any time off needed to get vaccinated
    • Offer a small bonus for employees that get vaccinated or who go through the exemption process
  2. Track vaccine status. It is essential to track those who are vaccinated and have received a booster if you choose to require vaccination or testing. Have a process for tracking who is compliant and who isn’t, and follow up with individual employees as needed. 
    • Use your HR management system to track vaccination status 
    • Ask employees to upload their proof of vaccination, and develop a process to review each submission for adequacy and accuracy
    • Inform only people who “need to know” about employees status—likely their manager and whoever will assist with managing testing
  3. Communicate with your employees. You are going to get questions from employees. You must make your vaccine policy information readily available to employees. You’ll want to outline the timing, requirements, exemptions, and where they can go to track their status. 
  4. Make sure your COVID-19 vaccine policy is in effect and up to date. Provide as much information on your vaccine policy as possible. It’s helpful if you can designate an HR or executive point person on this policy. They can educate employees with factual and trustworthy vaccine information, outline the reasoning behind the policy, answer any questions, and resolve any conflicts that vaccination may bring up. 

Establishing a vaccine mandate is up to the discretion of the employer. However, there are some states—such as Montana and Tennessee—that are working to ban such mandates entirely. So depending on your place of business, keep an eye out for any limitations to vaccination mandates and testing requirements. 

As always, stay up to date on any federal, state, and local regulations regarding vaccine mandates, testing, and mask requirements. If you want to learn more, watch our on-demand webinar or download the guide below. 

Download Our Guide: Creating a COVID Vaccine Policy for Your Workplace

Regardless of whether you have a vaccine mandate or not, it's important that your company have a vaccine policy in place.

download link

Related Posts


Top HR Challenges In 2022

December 28th, 2021 download

Vaccine Mandate Update

November 4th, 2021 download
All Posts