Getting the coronavirus vaccine for work
Employers should support staff in getting the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, but they cannot force staff to be vaccinated.
Employers may find it useful to talk with their staff about the vaccine and share the benefits of being vaccinated.
For health advice about the vaccine:
- in England, see coronavirus vaccine information from the NHS
- in Scotland, see coronavirus vaccine information on NHS inform
- in Wales, see coronavirus vaccine information on Public Health Wales
If someone does not want to be vaccinated
If someone does not want to be vaccinated, the employer should listen to their concerns. Employers should be sensitive towards individual situations and must keep any concerns confidential.
Some people may have health concerns, for example allergies.
Or, some people may be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. For example, if someone is pregnant. Find out more about discrimination and the law.
Staff should talk to their doctor if they’re concerned about their health and getting the vaccine.
If an employer decides it's necessary for staff to be vaccinated
An employer may decide it’s necessary for staff to be vaccinated. This should only be the case if getting the vaccine is required for someone to do their job. For example, if staff travel to other countries for work and need vaccinations.
If an employer decides it's necessary, they should agree it with staff or the workplace's recognised trade union.
The agreement should be put in writing, for example in a workplace policy.
If an employer believes someone’s reason for refusing the vaccine is unreasonable, in some situations it could result in a disciplinary procedure.
This will depend on if it's the workplace's policy to be vaccinated and necessary for someone to do their job.
An employer must consider if someone's reason for not wanting the vaccine could be protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010. For example, if they're pregnant. Find out more about discrimination and the law.
If staff believe their employer is being unreasonable
If an employee or worker believes their employer is being unreasonable in deciding it's necessary for them to get the coronavirus vaccine, they should try and resolve the problem informally.
They can do this by talking with their:
- health and safety representative, if they have one
- trade union representative, if they're a member of a trade union
If it cannot be resolved informally, staff can raise a problem formally. This is known as 'raising a grievance'.