22nd March 2021

Can you make staff take the Covid-19 vaccine?

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout underway, lots of employers are asking the same question: Can I now bring staff back to work? Here, the team at BrightHR explain what you should do to keep your people and business safe.

The vaccine is giving us all hope, and it’s exciting to think that getting back to business as usual might not be too far away. The team at BrightHR say it’s important to remember there’s still a lot to consider when it comes to the vaccine and managing safety in the workplace.

While some employers may think that getting employees vaccinated is an effective way to comply with the duty to create a safe place of work, the legal position on this isn’t so clear-cut. 

The vaccine isn’t mandatory

Irish citizens are protected by a broad set of personal rights under the Constitution. And these rights include the right to refuse medical treatment.

Constitutional rights may be restricted by the government in the public interest—but as it currently stands, there is no mandatory vaccination programme in Ireland.

Protect your people and your business

There are also no signs that the government intends to make the vaccine mandatory, for any individual or section of society, but it’s also worth remembering that if you could make your staff take the vaccine, it could bring a whole load of other legal risks into play, such as employee relations issues or discrimination claims.

For example, if employers could make staff take the vaccine, and then an employee suffered an adverse reaction, they may be able to sue you. It’s not worth the risk.

Ultimately, all of this means—there is no legal basis for employers to introduce a mandatory vaccination policy.

So, what can you do?

You can encourage—not enforce

Both you and your employees have a duty to maintain a safe place of work under health & safety legislation.

And with this in mind, it’s possible for you to encourage employees to be vaccinated to help create a safe place of work—but you can’t pressure anyone into taking it. It’s a delicate balance for employers to strike.

Manage the vaccine in your business with VaccTrak

The best way you can protect your people and your business is by keeping a record of who’s had the COVID-19 vaccine in your business and who’s still on the waiting list. BrightHR created VaccTrak to do just that

It’s BrightHR’s brand-new online tool that lets you easily record who’s had the vaccine, access regular reports to monitor vaccination in your business, and download professional letter templates to encourage your staff to take the vaccine when they get the opportunity.

You can also share our expert vaccine awareness course with your staff, which helps explain why the vaccine is so important, and answers complex vaccine questions.

VaccTrak makes managing the vaccine roll-out in your business easy, follow this link to  book your free demo today.  

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