Government provides clarity on the vaccination of staff returning to the office



As businesses across the country return to the office following the lifting of COVID related restrictions, the government has warned employers that forcing staff to have the coronavirus vaccination could amount to a criminal offence, amid concerns over "no jab, no job" policies emerging.

Although several high-profile companies in the USA such as Facebook and Google are requiring staff to prove that they have been fully vaccinated before returning to the workplace, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has stated that, whilst it understands that firms will want to protect their staff and their customers by requiring employees to be vaccinated, it advises them to also take other factors into consideration.

“Employers are right to want to protect their staff and their customers, particularly in contexts where people are at risk, such as care homes. However, requirements must be proportionate, non-discriminatory and make provision for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons."

EHRC spokesman

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has also offered advice to UK employers, stating that the European Convention on Human Rights protects people from being interfered with physically or psychologically - which includes mandatory vaccination, and that mandatory vaccination is an intrusion on an employee's body and may discriminate on the basis of disability, or religious or philosophical belief.

"Employers cannot forcibly vaccinate employees or potential employees, unless they work in a sector (such as care homes) where a legal requirement is introduced,"

CIPD

At present, the only group requiring double/full vaccination are care home staff in England, who will need to have had both vaccine doses to work under current legislation, with a consultation taking place on whether to extend this to NHS employees.

 
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