Acas calls for paid vaccine time off

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) is calling on employers to give their staff paid time off when they have Covid-19 (Coronavirus) vaccinations.

In new advice, Acas wants organisations to provide the right level of support – which it said includes paid time off for staff to attend vaccination appointments or if they are off sick with vaccine side effects for a few days.

Although it is not compulsory to offer staff time off to have their jabs, Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “Employers should support staff in getting the Coronavirus vaccine once it is offered to them.”

“Employers that are having open discussions with their staff about the vaccine can support them to protect their health, maintain good working relationships, avoid disputes in the future, and agree a vaccine policy that’s appropriate for staff and their organisation.”

As well as suggesting paid time off if staff needed it, the conciliations service document said it does not support enforced vaccination. It stated: “If someone does not want to be vaccinated then the employer should listen to their concerns.”

It added: “Acas advice is that it is best to support staff to get the vaccine without making it a requirement. If an employer feels that vaccination is a necessary requirement for someone to do their job then they should work with staff or the workplace’s recognised trade union to agree this. This should ideally be set out in a workplace policy that’s also in line with the organisation’s existing disciplinary and grievance policy.”

The government has said that it intends to have all over-50s – plus those who are clinically vulnerable – offered the Coronavirus injection by 15 April at the latest, with all adults hopefully vaccinated by the middle of the summer.