Only a quarter of business owners have instigated the Covid-19 vaccination policy for staff returning to work reveals a report by the Forum of Private Business (FPB)
In the survey conducted by the Forum of Private Business, only a quarter of business owners have implemented a policy requiring staff to undertake a Covid-19 vaccine before returning to work and only 2% of those surveyed have changed employment contracts to insist on one. It also revealed that three out of 20 plan to require a form of Covid-19 passport to be shown by customers.
With the low level of adoption of the notion, only one in 20 have experienced any issues or resistance from staff, suggesting that the staff themselves treat their personal Covid-19 safety as a priority, and less than 20% of the businesses reported that they have a consultation policy in place to address concerns.
Under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 HSWA 1974, ‘an employer must take all reasonably practicable steps to reduce workplace risks’. The report proves that businesses are aware of this as one third of businesses do recognise that the vaccine is necessary to maintain an appropriate level of safety in the workplace
Chief executive of the FPB, Ian Cass said: ‘There is clear evidence from employees that they treat their own, and their customers’ safety, as paramount, but in the absence of any direct requirement and support from the government it is understandable the business owners are reluctant to incur the additional costs of both Covid-19 passport and No Jab, No Job policies.’
The concept of the ‘no jab no job’ policy came to light in February 2021 after chief medical officer Chris Whitty said that healthcare workers had the ‘professional responsibility’ to get the vaccine and in line with this, British health and social care company Care UK then announced that they had adopted the clause for new recruits.
There is currently no legal provision for businesses to enforce this, even with s7 of the HSWA 1974, stating that ‘an employee has a duty to co-operate to enable a company to comply with any statutory requirements including steps to reduce workplace risks, but there is also nothing in place to stop business from placing a "no jab, no job" clause in contracts for new hires.
Backlash and concerns were raised against the notion as many argued that it would disproportionately affect young people who are last in line to get the vaccine. Downing Street has also commented on the policy saying it would be ‘discriminatory’ to order people to be vaccinated to keep their job.