Updated guidance on working safely issued by Acas
Acas has updated its working safely guidance to provide further information about workplace testing and vaccination for Covid-19.
Acas recommends that employers discuss with their employees how testing will work, how staff will get their test results and how the employer plans to use and store testing data in line with data protection requirements.
The guidance now contains a page dedicated to 'Getting the coronavirus vaccine for work' which includes a section on how to support staff to get the vaccine. The points for discussion are similar to those in relation to workplace testing and Acas suggests that employers could consider offering paid time off for vaccination appointments and full pay if staff are off sick because of vaccine side effects. The guidance advises that, in most circumstances, it is best for employers to support staff to get the vaccine without making it a requirement. However, if an employer feels it is important for staff to be vaccinated, they should consult with staff. Where further steps are necessary, these should be recorded in writing (for example, in a policy).
The guidance no longer states that employers cannot force staff to be vaccinated, or that the vaccine should only be made mandatory if it is necessary for someone to do their job. It also no longer states that, if an employer believes that an employee's reason for refusing a vaccine is unreasonable, this may in some circumstances be a disciplinary issue.