The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Minister Says Employers May Legally Force New Staff to Have Vaccine

Minister Says Employers May Legally Force New Staff to Have Vaccine
19 February 2021 | Updated 25 February 2021
 

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has suggested in an interview that it may be legal for employers to insist on new staff being vaccinated.

In an interview with Robert Peston this week, Buckland however admitted that it would be difficult to enforce this on existing employees. He said:

“Generally speaking I’d be surprised if there were contracts of employment existing now that did make that approach lawful. I think frankly the issue would have to be tested.

“I can see that in particular work environments the desirability of having a vaccine is going to be higher than in others.”

Employment Law Partner at Nelson, Laura Kearsley, agrees that it is unlikely that an employer could reasonably amend an employment contract to make it a requirement that an employee be vaccinated.

 

No Jab, No Job?

 

Last month, the founder of Pimlico Plumbers said he plans to introduce a mandatory vaccination policy for his employees, dubbed the “no vaccine, no job" policy, He told City A.M: “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?”

However, most legal experts agree that mandating the vaccination in employment contracts is murky ethical territory.

David Sheppard from Capital Law raises the point that, if employers were to compel their employees to be vaccinated, there could be criminal implications to these actions. He writes:

"Forcing anybody to receive a vaccine injection under duress, under UK law, could constitute an unlawful injury to another. Therefore, for anybody to become vaccinated, the individuals’ genuine and informed consent, and voluntary participation, is essential."

CEO of contract cleaning company Cleanology, Dominic Ponniah, commented recently that he will not be writing such conditions into employment contracts, saying:

“We won’t mandate that our employees have the vaccine. I think that his serious ethical questions surrounding it. I think most people will want to have it and do the right thing for wider society.”

Picture: a photograph of several empty glass vials

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 19 February 2021

Share



Related Articles

No Vaccine, No Job – COVID Vaccination Policies in the Workplace 

As the founder of Pimlico Plumbers says he plans to introduce a mandatory vaccination policy for his employees, are bosses able to demand such...

 Read Full Article
Biden Mandates COVID-19 Vaccine Policy for Businesses

President Biden has announced new measures that mean US businesses of more than 100 workers will legally require staff to either have the COVID vaccine or provide a...

 Read Full Article
The Right to Disconnect at Work – Is it A Legal Matter?

A European Parliament majority has voted for a law that grants workers the right to digitally disconnect from work without facing negative repercussions. MEPs are...

 Read Full Article
Tribunal Rules Carillion Compensation Case Can Proceed 

Workers seeking compensation following Carillion's collapse have secured a significant legal victory. 263 Unite members are seeking compensation for when...

 Read Full Article
Goldman Sachs Bankers Required to Declare Vaccination Status

Bankers at Goldman Sachs' US offices will be required to disclose whether they have had a COVID-19 vaccination, according to reports. The staff memo seen by...

 Read Full Article
Israel – A Blueprint for Work Life After COVID?

Israel has the highest vaccination rate in the world, leading some to argue that the country could be a blueprint for post-pandemic working life. By February 2021,...

 Read Full Article
UK Workers Unsure on Returning to Office Without Vaccine

Around half of UK office workers feel confident about returning to work without a fully vaccinated workplace. Research shows that 80 per cent of UK office...

 Read Full Article
BCC Adds Suppliers and Support Staff to Key Worker Pledge

The British Cleaning Council has expanded on its initiative to achieve “key and essential worker” status for all support employees in the cleaning and hygiene...

 Read Full Article
Events Post-Pandemic: Roadmap Update

The roadmap’s release has encouraged announcements across the board in the live events market. From Step 3 of the 4 Step process, managers, promoters and performers...

 Read Full Article
Under 50s to be Vaccinated Based on Age, Not Occupation

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has revealed that under fifties will be vaccinated based on their age, as prioritising according to occupation...

 Read Full Article