The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has published guidance on vaccination programmes for ‘flu and coronavirus, answering questions which could be on employers’ minds. What does it recommend?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for human resources (HR) professionals with over 150,000 members worldwide. In its latest guidance it has provided advice on how employers should approach the subject of vaccinations for employees, in particular ‘flu and coronavirus.
With healthy workers low down the queue for the public vaccination programme, one option is to offer it privately. As the CIPD points out, vaccine stocks are extremely limited at present and therefore it’s not a short-term solution for many businesses. However, it could be a viable option in the medium term. After all, the ‘flu vaccine is already offered privately in many workplaces.
Tip. It’s worth considering how the availability of a vaccine affects your existing risk assessments and procedures. For example, if you have clinically extremely vulnerable staff who have been kept away from the workplace for their own protection, once vaccinated there will be a period of time within which they can safely come to work.
If an employer decides to offer the coronavirus vaccine, then they must tread carefully to ensure compliance with the law at all stages of the process. Forcing an employee to have the vaccine could be classed as criminal assault.
Tip. If you’re planning on offering vaccination, draw up a policy explaining the benefits, who will be included and the implications for staff who cannot or won’t be vaccinated. Work with your occupational health provider to plan your programme. See next steps below.
‘Flu vaccinations can be seen as more straight forward compared to coronavirus. This is mainly due to the fact that they have been around for longer and are widely accepted in society. Some employees will already receive the ‘flu jab through the NHS. Eligible groups now include:
Your company may however, wish to offer the vaccine to other or all groups in the workplace in order to reduce ill health related absence. If you’re taking this route, follow the CIPD’s advice by having a relevant vaccination policy.
Tip. Whatever approach you take, there is currently no substitute for practical measures such as high levels of hygiene in the workplace and homeworking where possible. This approach is unlikely to change any time soon so should be at the forefront of any decision your company takes.
Tip. Regularly review your coronavirus policy, risk assessments and procedures as the external situation continues to change
To assist with getting a vaccination policy in place, download a copy of our Vaccination Policy Template. It’s a start, so amend accordingly and work with an occupational health provider to get it right for your organisation.