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More Job Listings Mandating COVID-19 Vaccination


scyther5 / iStock

With more and more employers mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees, it’s not surprising that employment ads are starting to tell potential applicants that they need “the shot” to have a shot at a job.

Still, it’s the nascent days of any kind of hiring trend.

A recent survey by the job site Ladders shows less than 2,500 of the 3.8 million “high-paying” career job postings in the United States and Canada during the past two years mention vaccine mandates. That’s less than .06% of the postings.

Still, that’s a 5,000% increase in job postings since before the pandemic. In November 2020, only 54 of the high-paying postings tracked by Ladders mentioned vaccination requirements.

“The fact that any job postings mention a vaccine mandate is astounding,” said Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella in a press release. “It’s the beginning of a massive trend. I expect this exponential growth will continue throughout the fall and winter.”

Enough of the math. What legal and practical factors should HR professionals weigh before posting vaccination requirements in employment advertising?

Follow the same protocol you use when requiring medical testing, such as drug screening — make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory after a conditional job offer, says Barry Hartstein, shareholder and co-chair of the EEO and Diversity Practice Group for Littler Mendelson P.C.

“It’s not unlawful to give people a heads-up,” the Chicago-based Hartstein said. “But like any testing, you can’t make an applicant do it until there is a conditional offer. Be consistent with applicable law.”

 

Hartstein said he’s seeing much more interest in employee vaccinations, describing the job posting mandates as a “growing, but still small trend.”

 

“I think we will continue to see it, especially with full FDA approval of one of the drugs (the Pfizer vaccine.) There is an enormous amount of fear and anxiety with the Delta variant,” Hartstein said. “There is enormous pressure from the C-suite who are stressing the safety and health of employees.”

 

The numbers bear out Hartstein’s observations.

 

A survey by his firm, Littler, showed that nearly half (46%) of respondents say they are more strongly considering a vaccine in light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. The majority of employers surveyed (63%) are encouraging, but not requiring, vaccination while only 22% say they have firmly decided not to institute a mandate.

The shift can be seen when comparing the data with a similar survey Littler conducted in January. At that time, less than 1% of employers were mandating vaccination and just 9% said they were considering it in some form.

Don’t automatically join the vaccination-mandate movement, Hartstein warns.

 

“My No. 1 bit of advice is to be mindful about being thoughtful,” he said. “You need to know your populations. This is a political and geographical issue. What will work depends on where you are and what industry you are in.”

 

For example, Harstein said, if you are hiring in a low-vaccination area such as Alabama for hospitality workers, you may not have many applicants if vaccination is required.

 

“You can have the best policy in the world, but if you can’t hire or retain employees. . . That is the most pivotal fact employers need to think about.”

 

About the Author

 Jim Fickess is editor of WorldatWork’s Journal of Total Rewards.


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