- Top UK firms may make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for staff, the Financial Times reported.
- Large companies are considering contracts that require employees to get a shot when they’re available, law firms said.
- These companies include multinational businesses, the law firms said.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Some top UK firms plan to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for staff through “no jab, no job” employment contracts, The Financial Times reported.
Law firms that declined to be named told the FT that businesses, ranging from care-home operators to big multinationals, were considering contracts that require new and current employees to get a vaccine as soon as it is offered to the UK’s adult population.
Pimlico Plumbers, which employs more than 400 people, announced in January a “no jab, no job” policy for new staff members. A spokesperson for the company told Insider that “vaccines are a way out and we have to use them as much as possible.”
Barchester Healthcare, which owns more than 200 care homes in the country, has said it won’t hire new staff who refuse to get vaccinated on non-medical grounds, the FT reported.
“Our long-term ambition is that all patient and resident-facing staff will have the COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect both themselves and the vulnerable residents and patients in our care,” a Barchester Healthcare spokesperson told Insider.
“One option under consideration is that staff who refuse the vaccine on non-medical grounds will, by reason of their own decision, make themselves unavailable for work,” they added.
One City of London lawyer told the FT that numerous multinational companies, including one large energy group, were looking at the contract clauses.
Another City lawyer said that introducing these clauses in contracts would be risky, because they could lead to discrimination claims.
Nadhim Zahawi, the UK’s vaccines minister, told the BBC Tuesday “it’s up to businesses” whether they want staff to hold coronavirus vaccination passports to prove they’ve had a shot. But he added that “we don’t yet have the evidence of the effect of vaccines on transmission.”
The British government has previously said it has no plans to introduce vaccine passports, out of concern that they could lead to discrimination against people who can’t, or won’t, get the vaccine.
Pimlico Plumbers CEO and founder Charlie Mullins said in a statement to Insider: “Some very clever people have worked really hard to give us a weapon that’s our best way out of lockdown and back to something resembling business normality, we’d be fools not to use it in every way possible.”
In an op-ed for Insider on February 5, Mullins said the vaccine passports would be a “fact of life” and would be “essential to access all sorts of services … that puts large numbers of people in close proximity with each other.”
This issue isn’t just confined to the UK. A West Monroe poll in January suggested that more than half of companies in the US would require employees to receive the vaccine before going back to work.