Electra HR

The Covid Vaccine: Is It Required in The Workplace?

The covid vaccine has proven to be successful so far in the UK, with many NHS workers having already positively received their first dose of the vaccination. The vaccine has also been rolled out in care homes and been prioritised for adults aged 80 or over. Of course, the vaccine has been developed with the view of protecting everyone from the virus, so what will happen once businesses and schools are able to reopen and go back to ‘normal’?

It is likely that restrictions will not be eased all at once, and we will see spread out measured changes happening. With the prospect of eventually returning to the workplace, many employers may be curious as to whether their members of staff should take the vaccine or if it is entirely up to their selves. Something to consider in light of this is the protection afforded to employees through employment law, namely their contract of employment. Currently there is no legislation in place stating that the vaccine is compulsory therefore even essential workers are not legally obliged to take the vaccine.

However, employers wishing to roll out the vaccine in a flu jag fashion for all their employees may look at adding a clause into the contracts of employment given that it is totally reasonable and has been discussed thoroughly beforehand with all members of staff. This does raise some cause for concern as some employees may just point-blank refuse to agree to the change in their contract, so perhaps better initiative would mean only applying it to new starts in the company where they have complete transparency in their employment contract from the offset.

There are also concerns around data protection. Information involving someone’s health should not be shared lightly and should be afforded adequate protection under GDPR. If an employee chooses to provide their employer with sensitive information relating to their health and whether they have received the vaccine, the protection afforded should all be reflected in the data protection clause in either the employment contract/handbook, or both.

Employers may find it worthwhile to discuss with their staff members about the benefits of taking the vaccine but remain neutral as it is not obligatory for everyone to take it. Employers wishing to add it as part of an incentive similar to the annual flu jag may wish to properly discuss this with members of staff but be open to people refusing to agree, as they may do so based on a protected characteristic.

Contact Us

Get in touch with our friendly team today to arrange a free, no obligation call back at a time that suits you.

01622 801 208

Mon-Friday 9am – 5pm