Last reviewed 4 March 2021

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published practical guidance for employers to help them to understand their responsibilities towards staff and support them as the vaccine rollout continues.

The CIPD recognises that this is uncharted territory for employers, with many being confused as to what their role is supposed to be as they seek to protect their workforce, business and customers.

The guide covers:

  • adopting a vaccination policy

  • encouraging vaccination and how to communicate this

  • asking employees (and potential employees) if they have had the vaccine

  • planning for employees who are unable to have the vaccine and employees who may be hesitant or refuse.

“The UK Government hasn’t made the vaccine compulsory so neither can employers,” CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese explains. “Nor should they be restricting people coming to work based on whether they have had the vaccine. Instead, employers — in line with official public health guidance — should consider promoting the importance of staff getting the vaccine and highlight official advice to show its safety and effectiveness”.

Many employers already do this in the winter months for the flu jab, Mr Cheese points out, so will have experience of encouraging staff to look after their physical health and wellbeing in this way.

Firms can also make it easy for people to get the vaccine by being flexible about working hours or offering paid time off, the CIPD points out. This will encourage take up and reinforce the message that vaccination is important and supported by the employer. 

Preparing for the Covid-19 vaccination: Guide for employers can be found at https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/health-safety/preparing-for-covid-19-vaccination .

Comment from BrightHR’s CEO Alan Price

The decision to take the coronavirus vaccine ultimately lies with employees after they have assessed potential risks to their health such as side effects due to specific health conditions.

Still, this guidance from the CIPD will likely reassure employers that implementing a concise policy which includes reliable information on the vaccine is the best way to encourage take-up.