50.6 million people are now considered fully vaccinated in the UK. That's nearly three quarters of the population.
With evidence that the pandemic is fading, it’s time for business owners to turn their attention to the future. This may mean thinking about a Covid-19 vaccination policy. This blog covers what you may want to consider if you need to create such a policy.
If you're ever in doubt about a vaccination policy, our directory of HR consultants will be able to help.
While many organisations in specific sectors already have a workplace vaccination policy, other businesses may not have needed one until now. In the UK, vaccination is not mandatory, but all adults have access to the vaccine.
ACAS offers helpful advice around the Covid-19 vaccine and the workplace: including supporting staff to get vaccinated, and how to start a conversation around the vaccine, if you need to.
Can employers ask employees to get vaccinated?
It's safe to say that employers need to tread carefully around this sensitive topic. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 details that employers should take reasonable steps to avoid workplace risks. This could be seen as supporting employees in vaccinations, and sharing reputable sources of information to help people make an informed decision.
Instead of asking employees to get vaccinated, the government recommends that employers encourage vaccination and share practical advice and trusted sources of information. Resources are available to help you start a conversation around the topic, too.
Helen Astill, MD of Cherington HR, wrote an article on the legal implications around vaccination for employers, which details what employers need to consider around vaccine considerations and law and ethics surrounding policies.
Do you need a vaccination policy?
The CIPD recommends that vaccination policies should not be used to insist that employees receive a Covid vaccine. Instead, they should be used to ‘outline the organisation’s stance on vaccination and explain the roles and expectations on managers, HR and employees’.
Depending on the nature of your business, a vaccination policy may not be necessary. Perhaps you could share trusted sources of information around the vaccine instead.
If you decide that you do need to create a policy for your workplace, we've provided some helpful tips below to help you get started:
Tips for implementing a vaccination policy
If you've decided that a vaccination policy is right for your business, here are some tips to help you to implement one:
Be clear that vaccination is advised, but not mandatory
There are financial and legal implications of making vaccines mandatory. By using a voluntary approach, you can build trust with your employees and encourage them to appreciate the benefits of the vaccine for themselves, the rest of their team and their clients/customers.
Create a list of must-haves for your policy
Ensure you cover how you intend to manage vaccination status record-keeping and what privacy standards you will put in place. Take account of legal aspects – such as potential discrimination in relation to vaccine refusal. Your policy should also consider how employees with a genuine medical reason that prevents vaccination are treated.
Communicate with your team
No one appreciates a policy being brought in, without warning, especially when it comes to vaccinations. Instead, sit down with your people to discuss why – and how – you will be rolling out the policy. Communicate relevant, reliable information about the Covid-19 vaccine, why your business is advising it, and how the policy will be implemented. Ensure everyone in your team has lots of time to ask any questions they need to.
Keep accurate records
You can ask employees whether or not they have been vaccinated but must have a good reason for doing so – such as the welfare of other employees or your clients. If you choose to do this, remember that their response is confidential health data and should be stored in accordance with data protection laws. Breathe's secure cloud-based HR solution provides a secure and reliable method of recording this sensitive data.
How software can help you manage vaccination records
HR software is making life so much easier for businesses in the digital age. Thankfully, that has now extended to managing the Covid-19 testing and vaccination status of your employees.
Breathe’s vaccination tracking feature is a powerful tool for business owners committed to providing a Covid-safe workplace. It makes collecting employee vaccination data and Covid-19 test results easy. Staff can submit their own records in a single, secure platform, with strict access-control measures.
From here, the all-in-one dashboard allows HR a real-time overview of critical data for proactive risk management. This includes the vaccination status of your team, testing compliance and recent test results. Of course, emphasis is placed on the clear identification of any positive test results; putting the health and safety of your team first.
Want an easier way to manage your Covid-19 vaccination policy? Breathe HR takes the stress out of collecting employee vaccination data and test results. Start your 14-day free trial today.
Author: Laura Sands
Laura is a writer who enjoys getting into the detail of subjects and sharing that knowledge with snappy, interesting content. When not typing away, she enjoys walks in the woods and curling up with a good book and mug of something hot.