Research by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has found that a quarter of UK employers have not been giving staff paid time off for COVID-19 vaccinations and don’t plan to.
Despite this, the poll commissioned by Acas and led by market research firm, YouGov, found that 59% of employers had been giving staff paid time off to get their COVID-19 vaccination while 4% had not been but plan to in the future while 18% did not know.
As a result of these findings, Acas has recommended that employers support staff to get the vaccine once it is offered to them by assuring them that they can have paid time off for COVID vaccine reasons.
When it came to businesses offering staff paid sick leave if they experienced adverse side effects from the vaccine, the poll revealed that 26% of employers had not been paying full company sick pay and didn’t plan to change. However, 50% were already paying full sick pay while 6% have not been doing it but plan to in the future, and 12% didn’t know.
The fact that some employers involved in the poll didn’t know if they offered paid time off for staff to take the vaccine nor if they offered full pay sick leave for those experiencing side effects shows that businesses must have clear policies in place as the vaccine rollout continues so staff know where they stand.
To ensure staff who are offered the vaccine take it, aside from promising full pay sick leave for those experiencing negative short-term side effects, Acas advises that employers consider not counting vaccine-related time off sick as part of its absence record system.
Susan Clews, Acas Chief Executive, said: “The vaccine rollout programme has gone well, and our survey reveals that most employers have allowed staff paid time off to get the jab but a quarter have not.
“Our study also reveals that a similar number of bosses have not paid full company sick pay to staff who have been unable to work due to side effects from the vaccine.
“It’s in businesses best interests to have a vaccine policy that supports staff to take time off as fully vaccinated workers are less likely to need longer periods of time off work to recover from COVID-19.”
For more vaccine-related advice from Acas, click here.