The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has launched guidance to help employers navigate vaccinations and imminent returning to the workplace post pandemic.
The HR body’s guidance, Preparing for the COVID-19 vaccination: guide for employers, is designed to help employers understand their responsibilities towards staff and support them as the vaccine rollout continues and we move through the reopening ‘route map’ over the next few months.
Areas covered in the guidance include encouraging vaccination and how to communicate this, adopting a vaccination policy, planning for employees who can’t have the vaccine and employees who may be hesitant or refuse, and asking employees (and potential employees) if they have had the vaccine.
CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said: “The widescale vaccine rollout really is uncharted territory for employers. Many are confused as to what their role in it is, to protect their workforce, business and customers.
“The UK government hasn’t made the vaccine compulsory so neither can employers. Nor should they be restricting people coming to work based on whether they have had the vaccine.
“Instead, employers – in line with official public health guidance –should consider promoting the importance of staff getting the vaccine and highlight official advice to show its safety and effectiveness.
“Many employers already do this in the winter months for the flu jab so will have experience of encouraging staff to look after their physical health and wellbeing in this way,” he added.
While the arrival of the vaccine and the potential for increased workplace testing were both positive measures in terms of limiting infections, the CIPD has also warned employers not to rush to get employees back to the workplace:
“It will be many months before most working age people will have received the vaccine. Where employees can continue to work from home, they should,” said Cheese.
“This will help to protect staff and bring the virus under control. If people must be in the workplace, employers must continue to take all reasonable and required steps to protect their employees, regardless of how many have had the vaccine. We’re not out of the woods yet,” he added.