Industry lobbyists, business groups and private individuals all met with White House officials last week to ask for a push-back on the implementation of a COVID vaccine mandate for private companies, CNBC reported Oct. 25. [Becker's Hospital Review 10.25.2021]
The administration is conducting its final review of the mandate, which will require companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their staff are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The mandate is estimated to affect around two-thirds of the private sector workforce. The Office of Management and Budget received the final rule Oct. 12 and is soon expected to finish its review, after which the mandate will quickly take effect.
Employers are worried that the mandate will drive even more employees to quit amid the highest level of turnover in 20 years. A poll from health policy analysis firm KFF, published last month, revealed 30 percent of unvaccinated employees said they would rather leave their companies than comply with testing or get vaccinated. The responses in these polls are often exaggerated, however, according to financial services company Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs' research suggested that the mandate would actually encourage employment by reducing COVID transmission and creating a safer work environment to invite back the five million workers who left due to the pandemic.
Industry lobbyists raised concerns about the cost of weekly testing. "If folks are allowed to refuse vaccination, and the employer takes testing obligations from a cost standpoint, then there's no real motivation for those employees to get the vaccine," Evan Armstrong of the Retail Industry Leaders Association said.
The National Retail Federation asked for 90 days for employees to comply with the mandate, effectively pushing back the order until January 2022. The Business Roundtable, another lobbyist group, also told CNBC the administration should allow time for employees to comply. Ed Egee, a lobbyist at the National Retail Federation, told CNBC, "This mandate cannot be implemented in 2021 without having serious repercussions on the American economy.