Businesses May Be Able to Demand That Employees Get Covid Vaccine

Businesses May Be Able to Demand That Employees Get Covid Vaccine

08th February 2021

As the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine continues in the UK, there has been some debate over whether companies will be able to force their workers to get the jab. The latest opinions on the matter suggest that they may be able to do this after all.

The Different Viewpoints

One of the earliest statements on this subject came from Nadhim Zahawi, who is the country’s vaccine minister. He said that the idea of using vaccine passports was discriminatory. However, he pointed out that anyone who needs proof of their vaccine for travelling to other countries should ask their doctor for this.

However, more recent reports suggest that ministers are now of the opinion that companies may be able to legally force their employees to get the vaccine. The reason for this thinking is that the business would be protected under the current health and safety laws.

The laws in force in the UK state that all workers have to protect themselves and everyone else around them. This would mean that there is nothing to stop employers from making sure that all of their members of staff get the vaccine.

What if the company were to take action against someone on their payroll who refused to get the Covid vaccine? In this case, the current theory is that the firm would be protected by the fact that they have a duty of care for their employees.

The latest official word from Downing Street is that the vaccine “is not mandatory” and that forcing people to take it would be discriminatory.

What Happens Next?

Some high profile business owners have voiced their opinion on the subject, saying that they will insist that all their members of staff receive the jab for their own protection, as well as the protection of their colleagues and customers.

The vaccine could eventually be viewed like any other type of safety measure, such as protective clothing, safety ladders and the correct use of machinery. With predictions that Covid could be with us for the foreseeable future, staying protected against it will become a part of life.

It seems that government ministers are divided over the issue, with some of them standing behind an enforcement of the vaccine due to it being for the good of public health. Meanwhile, others think that it could be viewed as discrimination and may even encourage discrimination among businesses.

One area of major concern is that the take-up of the vaccine has been significantly lower in some minority communities than in the country overall. This has led to fears that people from those communities could find themselves locked out of the jobs market in the future.

Naturally, anyone who is unable to get the jab because of allergies or some other issue wouldn’t be forced to do so. There are few legal precedents that show us what would happen if a firm sacked someone for not getting the vaccine but in the past courts have ruled in favour of businesses that have sacked workers for not isolating when they had an infectious disease.