No jab, no job? Employer mulls mandatory vaccination for staff

The company said it isn't putting anyone under pressure

No jab, no job? Employer mulls mandatory vaccination for staff

An employer in the UK has unveiled plans to incorporate a “no jab, no job” clause in employment contracts, requiring new and existing workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine first before they can start receiving assignments.

Pimlico Plumbers, a London-based plumbing company, aims to draft new contracts with the group’s 350 contractors and 120 employees once the vaccine is available. The company will also require new hires to undergo inoculation before joining the team.

The decision to get vaccinated is a “no-brainer,” according to Pimlico founder and chairman Charlie Mullins, who said he is willing to pay out of pocket to get his workers immunised.

“Whatever it costs, I will pay,” Mullins said. “I would pay £1m tomorrow to safeguard our staff.”

Read more: COVID-19: Can you force employees to take the vaccine?

Mullins believes getting vaccinated will become the norm by mid-2021. “To go into a bar or cinema, or go on a plane, you have to have a vaccine,” he said.

The company clarified, it isn’t “putting anyone under any pressure” and will decide exemptions on a case-by-case basis. But there may be repercussions for people who opt out.

“If people don’t want the vaccine, let them sit at home and not have a normal life,” Mullins said.

Read more: COVID-19: Should vaccine be mandatory in these sectors?

Is a ‘no jab, no job’ policy legal?

Workplace lawyers caution against forcing unvaccinated workers out of a job.

But while companies generally can’t mandate employees to take the vaccine, they can “address the issue in another way – perhaps by stating that an employee cannot return to the office unless they’ve had the vaccine,” employment lawyer Stephen Wolpert told HRD.

London-based lawyer Nick Wilcox, meanwhile, advises employers to consult with workers who refuse the vaccine for religious or philosophical reasons, instead of forcing them to get immunised.

For Mullins, it’s all a matter of convincing workers effectively. “I’m happy to pay for anyone that works for us to have the vaccine,” he said.

 

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