The government has published new guidance for employers to guide them in encouraging their employees to take up the vaccine. A special toolkit has been developed which can be shared with staff including information, common Q&As, scripts for internal conversations and other communication tools to help distribute information on vaccination in the workplace. Employers are also asked to share practical information with employees about where they can get vaccines locally and where to access reliable information on vaccination more generally.
The guidance also recommends internal publicity via the internet, email or newsletter about the importance of vaccination and use departmental ‘champions’ to promote vaccination on the ground. They also recommend that employers allow staff to have time off to get their vaccinations during working hours and review absence policies to ensure they do not act as a disincentive (for example, by not allowing time off for vaccination). There is no recommendation about paid time off to get a vaccine, but clearly this would act as a greater incentive for employees.
The highest possible levels of vaccination are in the best interests of everyone, including employers. There is evidence that vaccines not only reduce the link between Covid-19 and serious illness or death, but also that vaccination can reduce the likelihood of becoming infected and the levels of infectiousness if someone who is vaccinated contracts the virus. All those things mean fewer employees getting ill and less sickness absence at work. It is also clear that many people will feel more comfortable working alongside those who have been vaccinated. Whilst most employers will not be able to mandate vaccination for its staff, all employers can encourage employees and play a small but vital part in countering fear and disinformation and maximising vaccine take up.
Find out how we can help. Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department. Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at [email protected].