Poll: Workers more likely to be vaccinated if employers offer paid time off

Poll: Workers more likely to be vaccinated if employers offer paid time off
© Greg Nash

A recent poll found that American workers are more likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if their employers offer paid time off for them to get and recover from the shots, indicating a potential way to boost vaccination rates.  

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Vaccine Monitor for June released Wednesday determined that 75 percent of workers whose employers offer paid time off for the shots are vaccinated, compared to 51 percent of workers at companies that don’t give paid time off. 

Similarly, 73 percent of workers whose employers encourage vaccinations have gotten the jab, while 41 percent of employees at workplaces that don’t give this encouragement are vaccinated. 

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The difference in these vaccination rates among workers remained after KFF controlled for age; race and ethnicity; education; income; and party identification.

Liz Hamel, the vice president and director of public opinion and survey research at KFF, told The Hill in an interview that previous polling showed that a “large share” of people who hadn’t gotten the vaccine were worried about missing work for the shot and any side effects. 

But the recent results seem to show employers could have a role in increasing worker vaccination rates.

“Assuming that employers want their workers to get vaccinated, even things like encouraging employees to get vaccinated in addition to providing paid time off could make a difference,” she said.

The data comes as President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE’s administration is striving to get more Americans vaccinated after admitting last week that the U.S. will not reach the president’s goal of having 70 percent of adults get at least one shot by the Fourth of July. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 66.2 percent of American adults have gotten at least one dose as of Tuesday morning.

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The administration has tried to incentivize employers to give their workers paid time off for vaccinations, including with a tax credit for small businesses to be reimbursed for providing paid time off. 

Out of all respondents’ employers, half have given paid time off to receive and recover from the vaccine, and 65 percent have encouraged workers to get vaccinated. Only 9 percent of workers said their employers mandated vaccines.

A majority of workers, at 61 percent, said they opposed their own employer requiring vaccinations. Those who are unvaccinated and those who identify as or lean Republican were more likely to be against a mandate from their employer, at 92 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

Still, 42 percent of unvaccinated employees said if their company mandated a vaccine to keep working, they would get it. 

The administration has steered clear of weighing in on vaccine requirements and passports, saying they would not be implemented at the federal level, and the decision will fall on private businesses.

Aligning with last month’s results, 31 percent of unvaccinated adults said they were more likely to get the vaccine if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval for the shots.

So far, the agency has given emergency authorization to three vaccines, meaning they can only be administered during the public health emergency. 

Hamel said FDA full approval is “something that could potentially both increase the public's confidence in the vaccine and also make employers feel more comfortable with requiring it.”

The KFF Vaccine Monitor was conducted June 8-21 and surveyed 1,888 adults. The overall margin of error amounted to 3 percentage points.