In February, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland made headlines by stating that although an employer will likely be unable to force existing employees to be vaccinated, there may be nothing to prevent an organisation from implementing a ‘no jab no job’ clause when hiring new candidates.
This is a divisive issue for many reasons, with some people reluctant to receive the vaccine for personal or medical reasons. There are also concerns that it may disproportionately hinder young people who are the last in line to receive the jab in the short term. On the other hand, many employees are concerned about the prospect of working alongside unvaccinated colleagues and the potential transmission to customers and consumers.
As it stands, employees and job seekers have been largely unaffected by the issue of ‘no jab no job’. A recent survey by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) demonstrated that in practice, the implementation of such policies has so far been rare, with just 2% of businesses surveyed claiming to have changed their employment contracts.
With recent calls for the mandatory vaccination of care home workers, the discussion around ‘no jab no job’ policies continue to rumble on. It remains likely that it will be job seekers and new hires most affected.