Q Can we make it mandatory for our employees to be vaccinated?
It is unlikely that an employer would be in a position to implement a mandatory vaccination programme due to constitutional and European legal constraints.
Q Can we encourage our employees to get the vaccine?
Yes, it may be reasonable ask employees to be vaccinated. Employees also have a duty under the Act to co-operate with their employer so that the employer can comply with its duty to reduce workplace risks. In this regard, we advise employers to communicate with employees, their position on this topic and that they support and encourage the vaccination.
Q Can employers prevent an employee/s from attending the workplace if they refuse the vaccine?
If an employer concludes that there is a risk of an employee coming into contact with the virus, or, that there is a risk of putting patients at risk (health or social care for example), the employer can consider re-assigning the employee to another role if they are unwilling or unable to be vaccinated.
Be mindful of any equality implications of pregnancy, religious belief or medical grounds. Ex excluding such employees from the workplace on this basis could give rise to a discrimination claim.
Q Can we impose a disciplinary sanction on an employee for refusing to be vaccinated?
This is generally not recommended as you can be exposed to claims of discrimination on equality grounds constructive/unfair dismissal or unfair procedure.
Q Can we ask employees if they have been vaccinated?
Yes, but be careful of GDPR about how and where you record it.
Q Do I have to provide my employee with paid time off to attend a vaccination appointment?
Follow their usual company sick pay/absence policy in relation to attendance at medical appointments.