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Study Reveals Vaccine Policy Rift In Urban Vs Rural And Large Vs Small Businesses

The location and size of companies are two indicators of how likely businesses are to require or encourage vaccination for their employees, new PYMNTS data show. In short, the larger and more urban a company is, the more likely it is to have a policy requiring staff to get the COVID vaccine.

PYMNTS research found that almost half of the firms surveyed are requiring vaccination for their employees. Among the respondents, 37 percent require all employees to get vaccinated and 11 percent require some to get vaccinated.

Read more: To See What ‘Normal’ Looks Like, Watch Main Street SMBs

However, there are significant differences among different categories of companies. Those in metropolitan areas and cities, for example, are more likely than the whole sample to require vaccination for all or some employees. At the same time, companies in towns and rural areas, on the other hand, are less likely to require vaccination.

When it comes to encouraging but not requiring employees to get vaccinated, the differences are not so stark. Companies are pursuing a variety of strategies, encouraging some or all employees to get vaccinated. In some cases, they are even offering incentives.

However, there are significant differences when it comes to companies that do not have a policy regarding vaccination. Among the entire sample, 15 percent of companies have no policy, which was true of only 11.5 percent of companies in metropolitan areas and 9.5 percent of those in cities. However, nearly 25 percent of companies in towns and over 42 percent of those in rural areas said they had no policy whatsoever.

Size Matters

The data also revealed similar policy differences among companies of different sizes. Among businesses with annual revenues between $2.5 million and $10 million, only 8.6 percent did not have a policy regarding vaccination.  However, among companies with annual revenues of less than $250,000, that number more than triple to over 26 percent not having a COVID vaccine policy. Companies of other sizes fell in between those percentages.

Larger companies were more likely to require vaccination for all or some employees. Sixty-two percent of the largest employers require vaccinations, while only about 38 percent of the smallest companies do.

Earlier research by PYMNTS found that regional differences exist among business owners themselves. While 56 percent of Main Street small- and medium-sized businesses owners in metropolitan areas said they would get vaccinated in the next three months, only 13 percent of those in rural areas said they would do so.

Read more: Nearly Half Of Main Street SMBs Will Boost Business Investments As Vaccines Roll Out

These owners also had different attitudes toward the effectiveness of vaccines. Seventy-eight percent of metropolitan Main Street SMBs expect vaccination efforts to successfully control the virus’s spread, compared to just 41 percent of their rural counterparts.

Looking ahead, 62 percent of all firms that are not requiring vaccination now are at least “slightly” likely to do it in the next three months. About 43 percent of them are at least “very” or “extremely” likely to have different requirements for different employees.

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