As the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine programme continues to roll out at a successful pace many more of us will be invited to get vaccinated and it will be important for employers to support staff in getting the vaccine once it’s offered to them.
In its recently published guidance, Acas has emphasised the importance of talking to staff about the vaccine and encouraging them to share the benefits of being vaccinated amongst their families, friends and colleagues, whilst also remaining respectful of those who may not be able to have the vaccine or have concerns or reservations about it.
As an employer, in order to be fully prepared, it is worthwhile taking time now to consider what approach you will adopt to support workers. For example, will you allow paid time off to attend vaccination appointments? Will you pay staff as usual if they have to be off work with any vaccine side effects? How will you record such absences in your absence records?
We would encourage all employers to create a short Vaccine Policy in order to avoid any anxiety caused by uncertainty as to how you will manage your employees’ time off and any other vaccine related disputes.
Some employers will also be considering whether it should be a requirement for staff to be vaccinated. In these cases it will be important to work with staff and any relevant trade unions to reach agreement. Bear in mind too that some staff will not be able to have the vaccine and may have rights under the discrimination legislation.
The aim should be to find a solution which avoids formal action such as a grievance or the need to take disciplinary action and, as always, to encourage good workplace relations and employee wellbeing.
Please feel free to contact us for help creating a Vaccine Policy or any other workplace related issues.
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