Getting the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for work

Supporting staff to get vaccinated

Employers may find it useful to talk with their staff about the vaccine and share the benefits of being vaccinated. Employers should include recognised trade union or staff representatives in any discussions.

It could help to discuss things like:

  • the government's latest vaccine health information
  • how staff can access the vaccine
  • if staff will need time off work to get vaccinated
  • pay for time off work related to the vaccine
  • whether the employer plans to collect data on staff vaccinations, and if so, how this will follow data protection law (UK GDPR)

To encourage staff to get the vaccine, employers might consider:

  • sharing government vaccine health information with staff
  • offering paid time off for vaccination appointments
  • paying staff their usual rate of pay if they're off sick with vaccine side effects, instead of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • not counting vaccine-related absences in absence records or towards any 'trigger' system the organisation may have
  • arranging informal conversations during work time between staff who have had the vaccine and anyone who's not sure about getting it

Talking with staff can help:

  • agree a vaccine policy that's appropriate for both staff and the organisation
  • support staff to protect their health
  • keep good working relationships
  • avoid disputes in the future

If an employer wants staff to be vaccinated

It's best to support staff to get the vaccine without forcing them to.

If an employer feels it's important for staff to be vaccinated, they should talk together with staff or the organisation's recognised trade union to discuss what steps to take.

Any decision after that discussion should be put in writing, for example in a workplace policy. It must also be in line with the organisation's existing disciplinary and grievance policy and follow discrimination law.

It’s a good idea for the employer to get legal advice before bringing in a vaccine policy.

If someone does not want the vaccine

If someone does not want to be vaccinated, the employer should listen to their concerns.

Some people may have health reasons, for example if they will have an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

Employers should be sensitive towards personal situations and must keep any concerns confidential. They must be careful to avoid discrimination.

If someone is concerned about their health and the vaccine, they should talk to their doctor.

Resolving an issue about getting the vaccine

If an employee or employer feels there's an issue, it's best to try and resolve it informally.

An employee or worker can raise a problem by talking with their:

  • employer
  • trade union representative, if they're a member of a trade union
  • health and safety representative, if they have one
  • employee representatives

If it cannot be resolved informally:

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