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Bosses can legally demand that their staff receive the COVID vaccine to protect themselves and others at work.
Ministers have said that employers can request this under the country’s health and safety laws.
It’s thought that companies can opt for the ‘jab for jab’ approach by insisting all staff are vaccinated, but there are concerns there may be problems if people are fired from their jobs for not complying.
According to MailOnline, some ministers are in support of the scheme, while others believe it may foster discrimination.
A government source reportedly told The Telegraph:
Health and safety laws say you have to protect other people at work, and when it becomes about protecting other people the argument gets stronger.
If there is clear evidence that vaccines prevent transmission, the next stage is to make sure more and more people are taking up the vaccine.
The source added that they believe those who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons – such as those with allergies – should be except from the scheme, however, and therefore cannot be penalised for not having it.
Despite these concerns, there is little precedent for companies being taken to court over the decision to sack unvaccinated employees. In previous tribunals regarding staff being dismissed from their jobs for failing to isolate with infectious diseases, bosses have been ruled in favour of.
One company to have enforced a ‘no jab, no job’ rule is Pimlico Plumbers. The company’s founder, Charlie Mullins, began drafting new employment contracts for its 400-strong workforce last month that would include the requirement to have the COVID vaccine, The Guardian reports.
Mullins said to the publication:
When we go off to Africa and Caribbean countries, we have to have a jab for malaria – we don’t think about it, we just do it. So why would we accept something within our country that’s going to kill us when we can have a vaccine to stop it?
Meanwhile, Nick Wilcox, a partner at London-based law firm BDBF, stated that employers have to balance their duty of care for employees during the pandemic against their duty not to undermine employees’ trust or confidence in employers.
Wilcox added that there may be issues around mandatory vaccinations as some people may not want the vaccine for reasons such as religious or philosophical beliefs.
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