Should your organisation be collecting employees’ Covid test and vaccination statuses?
It’s something that HR leaders have had to consider since the end of lockdowns and the return to workplaces as they take on the responsibility for implementing Covid policies.
The recent PM Insight event offered some expert guidance on this with Adam Reynolds of ELMO UK, and Ben Favaro, Senior Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP, on the panel.
You can find a full recording of the webinar here
The event concluded with a Q&A session, here is an overview of the questions asked:
Q: We do daily lateral flow testing at our company and record them in open spreadsheets. Is this OK?
It may be acceptable as a short-term solution but longer-term, it poses significant risks. The efficiency and effectiveness of spreadsheets lapse over time as more data is stored.
It’s the reason more HR data is now being stored via dedicated systems that go beyond just storing info and have much more robust compliance controls.
Q: Will employees become more used to being asked for COVID passports?
Certainly. It’s a normalisation process already being seen in our personal lives. It’s becoming part of the standard process when we’re travelling or heading to a theatre or restaurant.
Workplace attitudes are likely to follow this same path.
Q: Do companies need to consider the potential impact on staff morale?
Yes, that’s why messaging is so important. Employers need to view their approach through the eyes of the employee – to find an approach that makes them feel part of the process and not something that’s dropped on them from above.
Talk to your staff, engage with them and adapt based on the feedback they provide.
Q: If you already have a solid COVID plan – is it necessary to ask for vaccination statuses?
There’s no blanket answer as it will depend on the specific plan and risk assessments. It’s important to state, however, that this is the critical question that all employers need to be constantly asking themselves.
Q: We have engineers who can’t travel across Europe due to being unvaccinated. How can we encourage vaccinations?
Unless it’s a sector where vaccinations are legally mandated, it’s not the place of organisations to tell people whether to get vaccinations or not.
In the short term, what’s important is communicating the right message and putting forward a positive case that a workforce can get behind.
Q: Is potential business cost a basis for asking for vaccination statuses?
There are multiple factors to take into consideration and business continuity may be one of those. It’s much safer, however, to keep reducing health and safety risks as the main focus.
The most robust case is simply that these steps are necessary in order to keep everyone safe. While there may be other factors, it’s advisable to keep this as the primary purpose.
Q. In social settings, if people don’t have a passport, they can’t enter. How will this apply in the workplace?
It’s likely that something similar will occur. The difference is that preventing someone from entering a theatre or pub has a lot less impact than stopping somebody from attending work.
If employers have carried out proper appraisals and have established a genuine purpose then it can be made mandatory.
Find out more about how ELMO COVIDsecure can work for your business here.