Half of managers want ability to make Covid jabs mandatory

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More than half of managers (58%) think businesses should be able to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for staff returning to work.

The Chartered Management Institute’s poll of 1,050 UK managers indicated that many supported the idea of the “no jab, no job” clause some organisations have been planning to include in their contracts.

Asked whether they agreed ot disagreed that businesses in the UK should be allowed to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for staff returning to their regular place of work, 20% strongly agreed and 38% agreed. Thirty-five per cent disagreed that they should be allowed to do this.

The CMI also found that almost half (43%) of managers think office access should be restricted for staff who refuse to get vaccinated on non-medical grounds, but 44% disagreed.

Three-fifths have already decided to make testing available to staff when they reopen their offices. Earlier this week the government revealed that 48,000 employers had expressed an interest in its free workplace rapid testing programme.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Managers have shown a significant level of support for mass testing and vaccinations. And widespread take up would allow for a swift and safe return to work.”

However she added that as thousands of firms have successfully operated remotely for the past year, there should be “no reason why permanent flexible working opportunities shouldn’t be available wherever possible”.

More than half of managers agreed it was part of their role to encourage employees to get a Covid-19 vaccination, and about the same proportion were concerned that there would be conflict between staff reluctant to be vaccinated and those who feel unsafe working with them.

Last month justice secretary Robert Buckland clarified that it is legal for business to insist on new employees being vaccinated as a condition of their employment. However, employment lawyers have warned that such a policy could be shown to be discriminatory, particularly as younger people will need to wait much longer to be offered a jab.

Care UK and Pimlico Plumbers are among the employers considering making the jabs a condition of employment for new starters. The NHS has also considered making them mandatory for frontline health workers.

The legal position around whether employers can alter contracts to require existing staff to have been vaccinated before returning to work is much less clear.

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