An important question that HR Staff n’ Stuff is being asked at the moment is about whether or not employees can or should access personal leave in order to receive their Covid vaccinations. Let’s take a look at your options…
Are vaccination appointments covered under Personal Leave entitlements?
The short answer is no. Personal leave is to be utilised when the employee is sick and unable to attend work as a result, or if they are caring for an eligible person who requires care (i.e. child). It is not for normal appointments, including vaccinations.
It is clear that the only way to minimise the outbreak of Covid in the community is for most of us to be vaccinated so we recommend that businesses who are in a position to do so allow their employees to use a small portion of their personal leave for vaccination. Ultimately, such flexibility will benefit your business and the community as a whole.
If you do determine that you will allow the use of personal leave for your employees to have their Covid Vaccinations, we recommend putting some clear rules in place and ensuring everyone understands what is expected. Suggestion for the types of rule you may decide to impose in order for someone to access their personal leave for the purpose of getting vaccinated include rules such as:
You can also consider placing limits on how many employees can access their personal leave for vaccination purposes on a single day so as to minimise disruption to your workday in already challenging times You do not want a significant number of employees to be unavailable at the same time. This may be challenging to manage but you may have to advise your team that it is a first in, best dressed situation and they may have to adjust appointments if your daily quota is reached. The use of paid personal leave in this instance is a privilege and not a right and as such, there needs to be a level of understanding around the fact that you also need to keep the business running whilst allowing people to have paid time off for their vaccinations.
Reaction to the vaccine
Just like the flu vaccine, some people may have a reaction to the vaccine. Anecdotally, we have heard that symptoms range from a sore spot on the arm to more uncomfortable reactions such as mild fever and headaches. If your employee does have a reaction to the vaccine in which they are unwell and unfit for work, they are absolutely entitled to access their personal leave as they would any other illness.
Also remember, you cannot enforce vaccination. The key here is that we believe supporting employees to secure their Covid vaccinations is of huge benefit to all and flexibility with personal leave may further encourage reticent or time poor individuals to get their inoculation sorted.
If you have any questions or concerns around the application of personal leave for Covid Vaccinations, get in contact with the HR Staff n’ Stuff team now.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!