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Majority of Small Business Owners Want Employees to get COVID-19 Vaccine

April 8, 2021
A new survey finds business owners are taking a proactive role to protect their workers.

A majority of small business owners (64%) say it is very important that their employees get vaccinated—and 80% intend to get vaccinated themselves.

A recent survey of more than 3,300 small business owners shows strong support for ensuring employees get vaccinated.

And employees are taking notice, as 80% of respondents say employees are turning to them with questions. Eighty percent of small employers also report having informal conversations about vaccines and 56% have had formal conversations, including staff meetings and one-on-ones with employees. A majority (55%) of employers say they would use free or low-cost resources to provide guidance and information about COVID-19 vaccines.

“The survey findings demonstrate that small business owners recognize the importance of the vaccines in reopening Main Street,” Rhett Buttle, Founder and Principal of Public Private Strategies, said. “By championing the vaccine with the employees and in their communities, small employers can help fully reopen the economy as quickly as possible.”

Three-fourths of all respondents said they are somewhat or very confident in the vaccine. That’s an encouraging sign, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates somewhere between 70-85% of Americans need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.  

A majority (63%) of all respondents are taking action to ensure their employees get vaccinated, including:

  • 19% will require vaccination,
  • 49% will provide educational resources for employees with questions,
  • 45% will give workers paid time off to get vaccinated, and
  • 14% will give financial incentive or bonus for getting vaccinated.

Reimagine Main Street, which is powered by Public Private Strategies, partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc; the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and National ACE to sample small employers from February 3 – March 23, 2021. The survey was conducted to glean insights, attitudes and preferences of small employers, especially AAPI-, Black-, Hispanic-, and Native-owned small businesses.

 Survey respondents represent 47 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. Fifty-five percent of respondents were female. Nearly one-third (32%) of respondents reported they were age 55-64, followed next by 29% who reported they were age 35-49. Respondents represented a broad range of industries, led by professional services (20.8%); construction, machinery and homes (12.9%); health care and pharmaceuticals (8.9%); and manufacturing (6.9%).

Reimagine Main Street also launched a public awareness campaign to support small business owners in being leaders on the COVID-19 vaccines with their employees and in their community. So far, more than 400 owners have already signed a pledge to do at least one of the following:

  • Commit to getting the vaccine when it is available and let their employees know why they are choosing to get the vaccine
  • Create a vaccine plan for their employees
  • Provide incentives to employees who receive the vaccine, such as paid time off to receive the vaccine
  • Continue to follow state and federal guidance on social distancing and wearing masks after all employees are vaccinated
  • Assist with vaccine promotion and distribution in their community (examples include volunteering to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites, donating supplies or services to vaccination sites, and being vocal in their community on the business case for getting vaccinated)
About the Author

Nicole Stempak

Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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