Booster shots mandated by more than one-quarter of employers

Vaccine requirement appreciated by most workers but adds to labour shortage challenges

Booster shots mandated by more than one-quarter of employers

More than one-quarter (28 per cent) of employers have mandated that employees get a booster shot.

That compares to 51 per cent who have mandated employees get at least two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a survey by Express Employment Professionals.

Nearly two-thirds of recruiters (64 per cent) say employees reacted positively to their company’s stance on vaccines.

About 41 per cent of Canadians over the age of 18 have opted for a COVID-19 booster as of Jan. 15, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, while 77 per cent of the total population has had two doses.

Canadian HR Reporter spoke with a labour lawyer for answers to some of the key questions involving vaccine mandates.

Variations by size, position

Companies with more than 100 employees are more likely than companies with two to nine employees to mandate the vaccine (59 per cent versus 43 per cent) and a booster (34 per cent versus 27 per cent), according to the survey of 510 Canadian hiring decision-makers between Nov. 10 and Dec. 2, 2021.

Small businesses are much less likely to implement mandates as they have a harder time competing in such a tight labour market, says Tash Damjanovic, Express franchise owner in Toronto and Woodbridge.

“We have seen many smaller companies steer clear of mandates, as they are worried they will not be able to effectively compete for and attract talent,” she says. “They have been able to hire excellent quality associates who are unvaccinated and who are being passed over by employers with vaccine mandates.”

Two recent Ontario decisions in the labour relations space provide some insights – and hopefully takeaways for employers, when it comes to mandatory vaccinations.

Vaccination requirements also differ for each job level, according to Jessica Culo, an Express franchise owner in Edmonton.

“For senior-level roles, we are seeing more than 90 per cent of our clients require proof of vaccination, while for entry-level roles, it is closer to 40 per cent.”

However, an increasing number of job seekers are only willing to work for companies that have implemented vaccine mandates, she says.

“This is more relevant now than before, as we remain entrenched in a job seekers market.”

While many employers are having difficulties filling open positions, it’s the senior-level positions that are the most challenging, according to a previous report.

By the end of 2022, half of postings for jobs in the U.S. that pay $100,000 or more will require COVID-19 vaccination from applicants, according to a report from career site Ladders.

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