Last reviewed 25 May 2022

A new study shows that the year ahead will see more than 20% of employers insisting on both new and existing staff being vaccinated against Covid-19.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses about whether they plan to make it a requirement for staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as a condition of employment and found that while half (52%) said no, 22% said yes.

Acas points out that there is currently no law in England, Scotland or Wales that says employees must have the vaccine. The Government removed the previous requirements for care home, health and social care staff to do so on 15 March 2022.

Chief Executive Susan Clews, said: “Most workplaces are starting to navigate what working life should look like post-pandemic and it is clear from our poll that most employers have no plans to require staff to be vaccinated.”

It is always best to support staff to get the vaccine rather than insisting that they get it, she went on, and it is a good idea for employers to get legal advice before bringing in a vaccine policy. If an employer feels it is important for staff to be vaccinated, Ms Clews continued, then they should talk with staff or the organisation’s recognised trade union if they have one.

She emphasised that if someone does not want to be vaccinated, then the employer should listen to their concerns. Some people may have health reasons such as an allergic reaction to the vaccine, and some employees may have other reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated.

Acas advice on the issue is available here.

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

A mandatory vaccine requirement will not be reasonable for all businesses, especially if the risk of transmission can be minimised in other ways, for example through social distancing, PPE, regular cleaning, etc.

A business case will help justify why it is necessary, so employers should take time and care when compiling it.

Employers will also have to make adjustments for employees who have reasonable grounds for refusing the vaccine, including those with underlying health conditions, certain religious beliefs or pregnant staff.