A quarter of employers are failing to help with vaccinations

New research by Acas has found that a quarter of British employers have not been giving their staff paid time off for Covid-19 vaccinations and have no plans to do so in the future.

Furthermore, a similar percentage are refusing to provide full company sick pay to staff who are off work sick due to vaccine side effects.

On the plus side, the arbitration service found that 59% have been giving staff paid time off while 4% have not been doing it but plan to do so.

Its advice is that employers should support staff to get the vaccine once it is offered to them. This support could include ensuring employees have paid time off for Covid-19 vaccine reasons.

Acas Chief Executive Susan Clews said: “It’s in businesses best interests to have a vaccine policy that supports staff to take time off as fully vaccinated workers are less likely to need longer periods of time off work to recover from Covid-19.”

To support staff to get the vaccine, Acas advice is that employers may want to consider paid time off for vaccination appointments and paying staff their usual rate of pay if they are off sick with vaccine side effects.

There is no legal requirement to pay for time off for the appointment and employers can fall back on their usual provisions for time off for medical appointments. However, some employers are happy to ensure that employees don’t miss out financially by taking time off to get the vaccine. It can also help to speed up the process of reaching high numbers of vaccinated staff amongst the workforce if they are able to take the first appointment that is available rather than having to wait for one which falls outside of their normal working hours so that they do not need to take time off work.

While some organisations may have a review or 'trigger' point to keep track of sickness absence for their staff, employers could consider not counting vaccine-related time off sick as part of this absence record system, Acas suggests.

Some employers are organising free transport to take employees to drop-in centres during the working day for their vaccination.

Employers who proactively encourage employees to do something are likely to see better results if they take reasonable steps to secure a smoother road towards that action.

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