Thanks to the Delta variant that’s causing COVID-19 cases to spike again, there are a number of firms out there looking to implement new vaccine incentives. And unvaccinated people probably won’t be happy about it.
Many companies dangled carrots – days off, gift cards, financial incentives, etc. – to motivate their employees to get vaccinated. Now, some firms want to use the stick end of the motivational tactic.
New vaccine incentives?
The new incentive is a monthly pay deduction of $20 or $50 for employees who choose to remain unvaccinated. Kind of like the monthly charge some firms charge smokers.
“We have received inquiries from at least 20 employers over the past few weeks who are giving consideration to adding health coverage surcharges for the unvaccinated as a way to drive up vaccination rates in their workforce,” said Wade Symons, regulatory resources group leader at Mercer, an international employee benefits consultancy.
What the reason for the switch from the carrot to the stick?
COVID-19 hospital stays cost big bucks. And most of the time company-paid healthcare benefits foot the bill. Increased costs like this trigger premium increases.
So now that vaccination rates have stalled, firms are looking at other tactics to motivate employees.
Something to think about
While we aren’t saying the monthly pay deduction is a good or bad idea, it may cause a backlash among those who refuse to get vaccinated.
And in a time when many employers are hurting for help, this may not be the time to incentive with a penalty. We reported in the Aug. 16, 2021 issue that the quit rate is the highest since 2000.
Then again, firms have to keep their benefit costs under control during a pandemic that isn’t over yet.