Some 5% of unvaccinated adults quit their jobs because of Covid vaccination warrants, survey finds


People shout slogans against the government as they arrive at city hall to protest the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in New York City on October 25, 2021.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Five percent of unvaccinated adults say they quit their jobs because of a vaccination warrant, according to a poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

This early reading on whether workers will actually quit their jobs during tenure comes as more and more employers demand shots. A quarter of workers polled by KFF in October said their employer asked them to get the vaccine, up from 9% in June and 19% last month.

President Joe Biden in September announced a mandate for companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that workers are vaccinated against Covid or tested for the virus weekly. The mandate, which is currently still under review, is expected to cover around two-thirds of the private sector workforce when implemented. The Kaiser survey only asked if people quit smoking because of a vaccine requirement, and not a vaccine requirement with a testing option.

More than a third of unvaccinated workers said they would quit rather than comply with a vaccine or testing warrant, according to the Kaiser survey, a share that jumps to 72% if no testing options are available. is proposed. But since the national mandate has yet to be formally implemented by the Department of Labor, it remains to be seen what proportion of workers will step down when a larger swath of the U.S. workforce is covered.

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“Right now, only a quarter of workers say their employer asked them to get the vaccine, so it’s still pretty speculative for those workers who say they would quit their jobs,” said Lunna Lopes, senior analyst surveys of the Kaiser Family Foundation. . Yet, Lopes said, the survey results offer “a sense of people’s attitudes” towards the demands.

Workers already covered by a warrant are more likely to have higher family incomes, identify as Democrats and already be vaccinated, the data shows. The survey results also illustrate the current partisan divide over Covid-19 vaccines, with 32% of Republican respondents saying they know someone who stepped down during a term compared to 14% of Democrats who said the same. .

Kaiser interviewed 1,519 randomly selected American adults from October 14 to 24.

American business groups have pushed back the next term, asking the White House to postpone the rule until after the holiday season.

“We are totally in favor of the vaccine, we gave the vaccine out, we spent millions to get employees to get the vaccine,” said Ed Egee, who works on government relations and workforce development. works for the National Retail Federation, a retail association. But Egee said putting employers in the middle of a “controversial and political discussion whether we like it or not” will create significant implementation challenges and risk causing staff shortages before the holidays.

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The NRF has asked the White House for a 90-day implementation period once the rule is finalized, Egee said, in order to allow time to verify the vaccination status of employees, review requests for exemptions and develop plans for weekly testing.

Asked about survey data indicating that a small proportion of adults left their jobs during tenure, Egee noted that there is likely significant geographic variation behind the national figures. Employers in the South and Mountain West are expected to see higher worker resistance rates, he said.

The National Manufacturers Association, in a letter to the federal government last week, said the loss of even a small portion of workers could have significant consequences for some of its member companies.

“In small facilities with just over 100 employees in particular, the departure of a single highly regarded team member could lead to production problems if not managed or planned properly,” wrote Robyn Boerstling, one of the leading lobbyists for the manufacturers group. “For large companies, even losing 1% of a production team could have operational consequences given the specialized nature of a skilled manufacturing worker.

An internal American Trucking Associations survey estimates that carriers subject to the mandate would lose about 74% of their unvaccinated employees, or 37% of their total workforce, due to retirements, resignations or employees working for smaller businesses not covered by a mandate. . This survey assumes, however, that the share of those surveyed who said they would quit will do so when the time comes, the trade group said in a letter sent last Thursday to the Office of Management and Budget, which is revising the rule to whites. Housing.

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When asked if drivers are already leaving the workforce, Jeremy Kirkpatrick, the association’s director of strategic communications, said it was too early to tell because the rule has yet to be made public .

“We’re on standby right now,” Kirkpatrick wrote in an email to TBEN.

The Kaiser survey also indicates that most unvaccinated workers would not give up outright if faced with a warrant. About six in ten people said they would be likely to request a religious, medical or other exemption if their employer asked them to get the vaccine.

“There are a lot of options that people would try to exhaust before leaving a job,” said Lopes, the KFF analyst.

Nearly 58% of the overall U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including nearly 70% of adults.

TBEN Spencer kimball contributed to this report.