Paid time off for Covid Vaccines - MLP Law

Paid time off for Covid Vaccines

A recent study by ACAS (the employment conciliation service) showed that 75% of employers were allowing staff paid time off to have the Covid vaccine. The remaining 25% did not allow such leave and had no plans to approve it.

Paid time off for Covid Vaccines


A recent study by ACAS (the employment conciliation service) showed that 75% of employers were allowing staff paid time off to have the Covid vaccine.  The remaining 25% did not allow such leave and had no plans to approve it.
 
With 5 million adults yet to have their first dose of the vaccine, causing concern to scientists and politicians, we examine an employer’s responsibilities regarding employees who have not yet had the vaccine but now want to take it.
 
What are the rules regarding time off for vaccination?
Employers are not under an obligation to allow paid time off to staff who wish to have the vaccine during working hours.  Yet, with many local pop up clinics, clinics running late into the evening and at weekends, it is possible for staff to arrange to have the vaccine outwith working hours.
 
For many, however, it has not proved possible to obtain an appointment that does not interfere with work, which has contributed to some not obtaining the vaccine.  An employer, however, is not under a legal duty to allow paid time off for staff to have the Covid vaccination, although, as the ACAS study demonstrates (surveying 2000 UK business), many employers have provided paid time off to encourage uptake amongst staff.
 
What are the rules regarding sick pay?
Where an employee is ill due to side-effects from having the vaccine, that individual should be treated in the same manner as any other employee who is absent from work due to ill health.  If that employee is entitled to company sick pay or SSP (statutory sick pay) then they must be paid accordingly. 
 
The ACAS study has, however, shown that the majority of employers have paid affected employees full pay (rather than, for instance, the lower SSP rates) in such circumstances.  Again, such a move is viewed as prudent, given that a vaccine policy that supports staff to take time off, is likely to provide longer term benefits, as vaccinated workers are less likely to need longer periods of time off work to recover from Covid.
 
It also bolsters an employer’s position in respect of health and safety responsibilities towards staff, to have such a positive approach.
 
Gender Pay Gap Reporting Deadline
 
Regulations introduced by the Equality Act 2010 require large employers (employers in the private sector with over 250 employees) to publicly publish certain measures which outline differences in pay between male and female employees. The government believes that increasing pay transparency will lead to employers taking more action to address pay inequality.
 
The deadline for publishing a private employer’s Gender Pay Gap Report has been extended until 5 October 2021 (due to the Pandemic).  The Report must provide information from a snapshot of the relevant pay figures on 5 April 2020.
 
If you require assistance with your business’s Gender Pay Reporting obligations, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 
If you would like to advice from the Employment team at MLP Law in respect of any of the issues raised here or more generally, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 0161 926 9969 or employment@mlplaw.co.uk, or follow us on Twitter @HRHeroUK.

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