POSTED: August 19 2021
Should I offer paid leave for vaccination appointments?

Should I offer paid leave for vaccination appointments?

One in four employers are not giving staff paid time off to attend Covid vaccinations, and have no plans to, a recent survey has found.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Acas, found 25% of employers were not giving staff paid leave to attend vaccination appointments and were not planning to. 4% of employers surveyed said they were not currently offering paid time off, but were planning to in the near future.

Half of the firms polled said they had already been giving paid time off for staff to get vaccinated, while another 12% responded ‘don’t know’.

The survey also found that 26% of employers hadn’t been giving full company sick pay to employees who had time off due to side effects of the vaccination, and had no plans to start doing so.

In more positive news, half of employers (50%), said they had been paying full sick pay to employees who were off because of vaccine side effects – with 6% saying they planned to do this in the near future. 18% answered ‘don’t know’.

Acas have urged employers to support staff in getting the vaccine – stating that one simple way of doing this is to give employees paid time off to do so.

It also added that while some employers had a policy where a sickness review is triggers after a certain number of absences, employers should consider not counting vaccine-related time off sick as part of this.

Alison Gill, head of hr at advo said:

“It is of course understandable that businesses would want high uptake of the vaccine, to protect their employees, customers and business flow.

In addition to the recent UK government changes  that  people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, the evidence available currently shows fully vaccinated people are less likely to become seriously ill from the vaccine. This means that they  are therefore less likely to need extended periods of time off to recover, and less likely to impact business operations.

advo would suggest that the uptake of the vaccine is likely to be much higher, if employees feel supported and employers are able to offer a vaccination policy that encourages  employees to take time off work for the jab.  This support would be further endorsed if the time off was paid.

It’s clear from the results that most companies have committed to showing flexibility to their employees in getting the jab – I would encourage all employers to demonstrate the same level of consideration towards their employees, and to those employers not intending to implement such a policy to, perhaps, reconsider.

As always, it’s important to consider those employees who are not able to get the jab and ensure your policies do not stigmatise or negatively impact them in any way.

A similar approach could be taken as with other types of appointments, by encouraging that those appointments are booked either at the beginning or end of the working day.”

Talk to advo today about vaccination policies, hr support or advice, or dealing with staff absence.