SEATTLE - New data shows a majority of Seattleites want their employers to require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The rollout of these numbers is significant as many Washington companies try to plan out a return to the office.
For many, it’s a complex topic. "It’s very controversial," said Carrie Miceli, Senior Director for Eagle Hill Consulting. Miceli said the hot-button topic of employers requiring vaccination is split nationwide, but not so much here in Seattle.
"We really found that the employees in Seattle have significantly stronger opinions about vaccines and the safety protocols in the workplace. Eagle Hill Consulting found 64 percent of Seattleites think employers should require employees to get the vaccine. And then there was 61 percent of employees that really felt that the employer should offer some kind of vaccine incentive," said Miceli.
For companies big and small, navigating this topic can be tricky.
"Now you’re blending employment and professional life with something very personal about why someone might not want to get it," said Miceli.
"We're not requiring employees to get vaccinated and we're not asking them if they have or not," said Elizabeth Bayer, Assistant Director of Code Ninjas, a coding facility for kids in Mill Creek.
Bayer said she doesn’t want to push colleagues to discuss something that could make them uncomfortable.
"I'm not against vaccinations in any way, I'm vaccinated myself but I think someone might have a health condition that they don't want to disclose," said Bayer.
Employers like Amazon and Google say they’re strongly encouraging employees to get the shot, but not requiring it. Some Seattle employers, like Butler Seattle, say it is a must.
"We ask if they’ve been vaccinated, what their status is, etc.," said Stuart Butler, owner of the transportation and valet company.
Stuart Butler who owns the local transportation and valet company said for him the decision to require it is simple: "People need to care about the person next to them."
Butler said he never looked at the choice as controversial. For him, it’s about keeping his drivers and customers safe.
Eagle Hill’s data also showed 49 percent of Seattleites do not want unvaccinated coworkers to return to the office. Eagle Hill consultants told Q13 News so far it doesn’t appear many companies are requiring vaccination, but say that could change in the future.
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