Do PAs Need to Have the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine for Work?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is available in Scotland through the NHS.
Employers should support Personal Assistants (PAs) in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
There’s currently no law in Scotland that says people must have the vaccine. There may be some people who are advised not to have the vaccine, for example for health reasons.
There’s still a chance that someone might get or spread COVID-19 even if they’ve had the vaccine.
Supporting staff to get vaccinated
It might be helpful to speak to your employer about the vaccine and discuss things like:
- The government’s latest vaccine health information
- How you can access the vaccine
- If you will need time off work to get vaccinated
- Pay for your time off work related to the vaccine
- Whether the employer plans to collect data on PAs vaccinations, and if so, how this will follow data protection law (UK GDPR)
To encourage PAs to get the vaccine, employers might consider:
- Sharing government vaccine health information with PAs
- Offering paid time off for vaccination appointments
- Paying PAs their usual rate of pay if they’re off sick with vaccine side effects, instead of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- Not counting vaccine-related absences in absence records or towards any ‘trigger’ system the employer may have
- Arranging informal conversations during work time between PAs who have had the vaccine and anyone who’s not sure about getting it
Talking with your employer can help to:
- Agree a vaccine policy that’s appropriate for both you and your employer
- Support you to protect your health
- Keep good working relationships
- Avoid disputes in the future
If an employer wants staff to be vaccinated
It’s best for an employer to support PAs to get the vaccine without forcing them to.
If an employer feels it’s important for PAs to be vaccinated, they should talk together with their PAs to discuss what steps to take.
Any decision after that discussion should be put in writing, for example in a workplace policy. It must also be in line with the employer’s existing disciplinary and grievance policy and follow discrimination law.
It’s a good idea for the employer to get legal advice before bringing in a vaccine policy.
If a PA does not want the vaccine
If a PA does not want to be vaccinated, the employer should listen to their concerns.
Some people may have health reasons, for example if they will have an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
Employers should be sensitive towards personal situations and must keep any concerns confidential. They must be careful to avoid discrimination.
If you are concerned about your health and the vaccine, you should talk to your doctor.
Resolving an issue about getting the vaccine
If an employee or employer feels there’s an issue, it’s best to try and resolve it informally. An employee or worker can raise a problem by talking with their:
- Trade union representative if they’re a member of a trade union
If it cannot be resolved informally:
- PAs can raise a problem formally by ‘raising a grievance’
- The employer could start a disciplinary procedure
Take a look at the NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Website to guide you in more detail.