SURVEY SAYS: Workplace Rules on Vaccines and Masks

Plan sponsors and employees in the retirement plan industry share whether their companies are requiring vaccines and/or masks for the return to the office.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Does your company have a vaccine mandate?” I also asked if they are required to wear a mask in the office.

More than eight in 10 respondents (84%) work in a plan sponsor role, 13% work for or as recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants and 3% are advisers/consultants.

The vast majority of responding readers (85%) said their company does not have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, 12% said their company does, and 3% reported that their company has a vaccine mandate, with regular testing required for the unvaccinated.

Responding readers were more likely to be required to wear a mask in the office. Nearly one-quarter (24%) indicated that masks are required in all areas of the office, and 29% said masks are required in some areas. Nearly one-third of respondents reported that they are not required to wear masks in the office, and 15% said they haven’t returned to the office yet.

The comments left by readers who chose to do so reflect that office rules about vaccines and masks are all over the place. Many indicated different rules about masks and returning to the office for the vaccinated than for the unvaccinated. Opinions about vaccine mandates vary as well; some like the idea in general, while others don’t, and some feel mandates should only apply in certain industries. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Since we can all work from home, if anyone is apprehensive about going into the office, they should be able to continue to work from home.”

A big thank you to all who participated in our survey.


We are required to wear masks except when we are sitting at our desks. Personally, I am in favor of vaccine mandates for certain industries such as the airlines, health care, nursing homes, educational institutions including public schools and colleges, etc.

We have a small percentage of employees voluntarily wearing a paper mask (10% effective per experts). We would likely push back on any new government mandated policies.

Vaccines are encouraged, but not mandated. Masks must be worn in all public areas. You are not required to mask in your private office.

While we do not have a vaccine mandate, we will require proof of vaccination to return to the office. So, almost a mandate unless you are 100% remote. Also, when we return to the office, we are expected (but not required, I think) to wear a mask in common areas.

When we got to 80% vaccinated in the office, the mask mandate was removed. Now we are up to 97% vaccinated (voluntary so far).

You have to be vaccinated to come into the office. They have not said flat out everyone has to be vaccinated…then again, what has happened to our world that “we before me” is so controversial?

We follow CDC and local guidelines

At a time when companies cannot afford to lose critical talent it’s important to not put up barriers if they are not needed. At our office locations we are using a hybrid model allowing for employees to make their own decisions about where they work. When we work in the office, we are required to wear masks whether or not we are fully vaccinated. Given the transmissibility of the Delta variant, being fully vaccinated isn’t a guarantee of safety so there is no reason to force some to wear masks while others go unmasked.

Employees are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated and have been asked to attest to that fact. During our voluntary return to work period (between now and January), unvaccinated employees are not allowed in the building. Vaccinated individuals still must wear masks.

Since we can all work from home, if anyone is apprehensive about going into the office, they should be able to continue to work from home.

Our office is small, and all of us already got our vaccines. However, we have staff that are still fully remote to help stop the spread. It is interesting to see who is requiring and who isn’t, I think it is a smart and brave choice that some of these big companies/universities stated as such…if they can do it, so can small businesses.

I wish they would have a vaccine mandate.

Probably won’t do the mandate for our office. We still allow a lot of flexibility for individuals to work from home at their discretion, so it isn’t perceived as necessary.

Only those who have not been vaccinated are asked to wear a mask.

With respect to the mask mandate, I don’t have to wear it when I’m in my office but need to have it on when I leave my office and as soon as I enter the building. Fine with me.

A little common sense, like staying at home away from others when a person doesn’t feel well, seems to be a lot more effective than mandates.

The mask requirement has changed with COVID developments. We need to wear a mask when traveling through our building, and in restrooms, etc. but not at our desks, as we’ve done an every other week in the office schedule to maintain social distancing. We also have our temperature checked by a thermal detector when we enter the building. There was a period of time when vaccinated employees did not need to wear masks, but that has been reinstated with the Delta surge.

Our company did pay $100 for proof of vaccination. Approximately 85% of the employees are vaxxed in the corporate office (Dallas)

We are not mandating nor verifying vaccination status. Non-vaccinated employees are required to wear masks in common areas, and I do see some. Since we’re not verifying, you just don’t know. I would hope people are being honest, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue of science anymore.

We are requiring masks in the office except when seated at your desk. We have installed plexiglass barriers for open cubicles. We are currently working on a survey to determine vaccination status of our employees. We have returned to the office on a hybrid schedule, 2/3 days per week in office. Some local travel has resumed but minimal. We didn’t want to get to a mandate but keeping our options open. We are in Illinois.

We had mask mandating earlier in the year but that ended in the Spring. I look for it to be reinstated though. We are in Ohio, so I foresee the governor doing it.

We treat everyone as adults – if you aren’t fully vaccinated, we expect you to respect your co-workers and wear a mask. Not really sure how that’s working out for us in all honesty. I don’t see anyone walking around with masks.

I’m conflicted on vaccine mandates in a non-health care world. Looking at it from the public health view I 100% see that it’s necessary. Looking at it from a social/government aspect, the slippery slope is scary. In the health care world, if I found out one of my doctor’s offices didn’t have all patient facing employees vaccinated, I would be switching. If they don’t believe in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine by now, I don’t trust them to care for my family.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.