COVID-19 and Vaccinations for PAs
As an employer you might be worried about your Personal Assistants (PAs)’ vaccination status and whether this creates any risk to you or other people who will have contact with your PA.
An employer cannot make one of their employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine if they do not wish to. However, as a result of the UK Government’s vaccine mandates, many employers may be contemplating introducing measures – via clauses in contracts of employment or amending existing contracts – that require their workforce to be fully vaccinated. An employers’ reasons for introducing such measures could relate to:
- Protecting vulnerable staff members
- Protecting themselves
- Protecting visitors
- Protecting friends and family
- Be an attempt to limit absences due to workers catching COVID-19 or being required to self-isolate
A Vaccination Policy
An employer could introduce measures that require workers to be fully vaccinated. However, if an employee still refuses, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to redeploy the PA to a different role or they could be dismissed. How you handle such a situation is something you need to give much consideration to before introducing a vaccination policy.
If as an employer you introduce a vaccine mandate for your PAs but an employee still refuses to be vaccinated based on the fact that they have a disability, or is as a result of a religious or philosophical belief, and the worker is then redeployed or dismissed, you could potentially face a direct or indirect discrimination claim from your worker.
Does your PA need to tell you if they are getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
As an employer you could introduce a policy that requires your PA(s) to notify you of any COVID-19 vaccinations received. However, if you don’t have this policy in place, your PA(s) won’t have to tell you if they have had a COVID-19 vaccination or not.
As an employer you may want to think about how you support your PA(s) to access a COVID-19 vaccination. Giving your PA(s) time off to attend such an appointment may be helpful in supporting them.
Will any new prospective PAs have to tell you if they have been vaccinated?
There is a general prohibition on employers asking prospective employees health-related questions, which in this case would include their vaccination records. However, there are limited exceptions to this that could apply to sectors and job roles where there is a particular health and safety reason, meaning that as an employer you need to know whether the prospective PA has been vaccinated or not.
This is lawful as long as you do not discriminate against any disabled candidates who are unable to have the vaccine as a result of their disability.
Take a look at the article on ‘Do PAs need to have the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for work’ article for more information.