Union body calls on government to urgently address barriers workers are facing to getting the vaccine
Companies “must play their part” in the vaccine effort, says TUC
Almost 1 in 7 firms surveyed have introduced policy of ‘no jab, no job’ for new or existing employees, poll reveals
Less than half (45%) of companies surveyed are giving staff paid time-off to get vaccinated, according to a new TUC poll published today (Monday).
The poll of more than 1,000 private sector employers shows that too many are not taking simple practical steps to make sure as many of their staff as possible get vaccinated.
The TUC says that getting as many people vaccinated as possible is the way out of the pandemic – and that employers should play their part by encouraging vaccinations.
The union body says every worker should get paid time off for their vaccine appointments – and that employers and the government should act.
The poll reveals that large companies surveyed (49%) are only marginally better than small companies (43%) at supporting workers with paid time-off for vaccine appointments.
The findings are released as younger people, who are more likely to be in work, start to be invited for their vaccination appointments, and as many businesses – including pubs, restaurants and shops - prepare to re-open on 12 April.
The TUC has written to the government as part of the Cabinet Office consultation about vaccination passports, calling on ministers to urgently address the barriers many workers still face to get vaccinated.
The union body notes that making vaccination as easy as possible will help overcome vaccine hesitancy and push vaccine take-up – and that overcoming structural barriers to getting vaccinated is key.
The TUC is calling for government to:
Put pressure on employers to guarantee workers can get paid time off to get vaccinated and to recover from any after-effects of the vaccination.
Take vaccination clinics out into workplaces and communities, to reach people who might find it harder to access appointments or who may have questions or concerns that health professionals can address. It is particularly important to ensure that low income, insecure or precarious workers and BME workers, many of whom are in frontline roles, can access vaccinations.
Make sure that everyone can get vaccinated, no matter their immigration status, and that this is clearly communicated
Ensure that those in occupations who are required to be away from home, such as seafaring, have the support they need to attend both vaccination appointments.
The poll also finds that almost 1 in 7 (14%) private sector companies surveyed have introduced a policy of ‘no jab, no job’ for new or existing employees, meaning getting vaccinated is a condition either of continued employment, or employment for new starters.
The TUC says this approach is counterproductive, risks damaging employment relations and could be discriminatory – for example by penalising pregnant women.
The union body believes that employers should abandon any policy of compulsory vaccination, and should instead focus on promoting and facilitating vaccination, by, for example, giving workers paid time off for their appointments.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“We all have a shared interest in getting everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.
“That’s how we make sure workplaces are safe. And it’s how we start rebuilding our country.
“Employers must play their part in Britain’s vaccine effort too. Every worker should be entitled to paid time off for their vaccination appointments, and to recover from any side effects.
“It must be as easy as possible for everyone to get vaccinated – including people in insecure work and precarious jobs. The government must be loud and clear with companies about supporting their workforces to get vaccinated.”
On the issue of mandatory vaccination policies, Frances added:
“Forcing staff to get vaccinated is counterproductive.
“As well as damaging trust and employee relations, it may be discriminatory and open up employers to legal challenge.
“Employers should instead encourage their workers to get vaccinated and make it as easy as possible, for example by giving them paid time off for the appointments.
"And businesses must not use vaccination or testing programmes as an excuse to slack on coronavirus safety at work. As the UK prepares to open more workplaces over the coming months, every employer must make sure their workplaces meet Covid-Secure rules.”
-All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1002 HR decision makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 15th March 2021. The survey was carried out online.
- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
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