TUC demands coronavirus jab sick pay

Frances O'Grady

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is urging more employers to give staff paid time off if they fall unwell after having their Covid-19 (Coronavirus) jab.

With more adults of working age now starting to receive their jabs, a new poll by the TUC among more than 1,000 firms found only 45% of employers were currently giving staff paid time off.

This is despite data showing as many as one in ten fall ill with heavy flu-like symptoms for two or more days.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady (pictured), said all workers should have the right to take paid leave while having a jab and recovering from side effects, and that by denying this to staff, the roll-out of vaccinations could be hampered.

She said: “Employers must play their part in the UK vaccine effort. We all have a common interest in getting everyone vaccinated as soon as possible. That’s how we make sure our workplace is safe. And that’s how we make the country It’s a way to start rebuilding.”

Some large businesses, including Ikea, Metro Bank and Timpsons, have said they will give full pay for any member of staff who needs to take time off to get the jab. Last month, the John Lewis Partnership – which also owns Waitrose – also confirmed that it would offer the same terms to its 78,000 partners.

But the TUC’s research revealed that larger organisations were only marginally better than samll- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in supporting workers with paid leave for vaccines.

It found only 49% of big firms were doing so, compared with 43% of small businesses.

The same research also revealed that 14% of private-sector firms said they had already introduced a ‘no jab, no job’ policy for staff. This is despite the fact  it is not compulsory for anyone to be vaccinated, while employers could potentially open themselves up to discrimination claims if they try to enforce their staff get vaccinated.

O’Grady said: “It must be as easy as possible for everyone to get vaccinated and the government must be loud and clear with companies about supporting their workforces.”

Last month Acas advice issued its own guidance to employers to support staff by offering paid time off for staff to attend vaccination appointments or paid time off sick if they are ill with vaccine side effects for a few days.