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Acas urges employers to support COVID-19 vaccinations

One in four employers are not giving their staff paid time off to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, according to conciliation service Acas.

A quarter (26%) of bosses are also not giving full company sick pay to staff who are off work sick due to vaccine side effects.

Acas research found a lack of employer support may have a negative effect on the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination and advised employers to help their staff get vaccinated. 

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Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, said while the vaccine rollout programme had gone well, employers could be doing more to support it.

She said: “While our survey reveals that most employers (59%) have allowed staff paid time off to get the jab, a quarter have not.

“It’s in businesses' best interests to have a vaccine policy that supports staff to take time off, given fully vaccinated workers are less likely to need longer periods of time off work to recover from COVID-19.”

The vaccine has been linked to side effects including fatigue, headaches, feeling or being sick and a high temperature, yet businesses have been taking different approaches to paying full company sick pay for employees who feel unwell as a result. 

A quarter (26%) of businesses were not paying sick pay and had no plans to change, 6% have not been doing it but plan to in the future, and 12% did not know if there were or not.

To support vaccination uptake, Acas has advised employers to consider offering paid time off for vaccination appointments and paying staff their usual rate of pay if they are off sick with vaccine side effects.

The public body also advised employers to consider not counting vaccine-related time off as part of this absence record system.

Acas commissioned YouGov to poll 2030 senior decision makers between 15 and 28 June 2021.