Small Businesses Consider Hiring Only Vaccinated Workers

Hilary Tuttle

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December 1, 2021

A woman wearing a COVID mask holds up a cell phone showing an app called COVIDPASS with the text

In a study by Digital.com, 59% of small-business owners in the United States said they would only hire vaccinated employees moving forward, and another 23% are considering whether to adopt a vaccine requirement in their hiring policies. However, 34% of respondents also expressed concerns about the ongoing labor shortage, reporting they are already struggling to find workers and fear that a vaccine requirement would further diminish the pool of potential applicants. Nevertheless, the report’s authors note that many leaders are “determined not to relive the past.” Among the 1,000 businesses surveyed with fewer than 100 employees, 62% had at least one employee (that they know of) test positive for COVID-19, and 66% report direct revenue losses as a result of employees taking time off while suffering from a COVID infection.

Of the companies considering a vaccine requirement for new hires, 78% are also requiring existing employees to be vaccinated, and three-quarters of this group said they would consider firing employees who refuse without religious or health reasons. Many employees may want such additional policies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on the job—65% of respondents said their employees have specifically expressed worries about coworkers not being vaccinated.

Hilary Tuttle is senior editor of Risk Management.