DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As more companies adopt vaccine mandates, you may soon find keeping your job will require you to be vaccinated.
Hospitals, airlines, and other companies have made the leap and discovered mandates work to drive up their vaccination rates.
“A tremendous number of companies have come to us and said we started out in the mid-fifties or sixties range and now we’re over 90 percent,” said White House Senior Policy Adviser, Dr Cameron Webb.
Three hospital networks in North Texas set a deadline of October 1 for their employees to be fully vaccinated.
Children’s Health reports 99% of its employees complied.
Baylor Scott & White says roughly 98% of its employees did.
And, Methodist Health would only say “the large majority” of its workforce is now fully vaccinated.
Compare that to the city of Dallas, which instead offered an incentive – extra vacation days – to employees who showed they were fully vaccinated.
As of October 1, 58% had.
That represents a 7% jump over the span of a month or roughly 1,100 newly vaccinated workers.
“Some companies that have used incentives don’t have as high a vaccination rate, so you can argue whether or not that carrot approach has been successful,” said local employment attorney Rogge Dunn.
Amid a labor shortage, though, he said the risk of losing employees over mandates can be difficult for companies. Many, though, he says, see mandates as generally good for business.
“My restaurant and service industry clients – such as bars, gyms, and restaurants – think it gives them an advantage to say all of our employees – back of the house, who are making the food, the servers bringing it – are vaccinated, and they feel many customers appreciate that peace of mind,” he said.
Dunn says companies can fire you for refusing a vaccine, as long as they offer exemptions for employees with sincerely held religious beliefs or medical conditions that don’t allow vaccination.
While unemployment benefits have helped many laid off workers during the pandemic, they’re generally not available to those who are fired. The Texas Workforce Commission said it will consider situations on a case to case basis, taking into account all circumstances.
Healthy policy experts, though, say job security is proving to be a powerful motivator, even among people who’ve dug in their heels.
“For those people, it gives them an out. They’re like, ‘I only got vaccinated because my job told me to’. That’s fine. By whatever design you got vaccinated, I’m glad that you did,” said Dr. Webb.