The Testing staff for coronavirus section update within the guidance sets out best practice for how employers should approach and implement workplace testing with employees. Communication is key and employers should consider discussing issues with staff such as how testing would work, the process to follow if someone tests positive for coronavirus, and how someone's absence will be counted if they need to take time off work. Any decision after that discussion should be put in writing and be in line with the employer's existing disciplinary and grievance policy.
A new page on Getting the coronavirus vaccine for work also stresses that employers should support staff in getting the coronavirus vaccination once it's offered to them. Communication with employees is again key and employers should consider discussing issues with staff such as whether they will need to take time of work, and whether the employer plans to collect staff data on staff vaccinations. To encourage the uptake of the vaccine, employers should consider paying staff their usual rate to attend vaccination appointments and if they are off work sick with side effects (instead of Statutory Sick Pay).
The Acas guidance advises that it is best practice not to make being vaccinated a job requirement, in most circumstances. Employers who would like to require staff to be vaccinated should discuss this with them. Any decision made following these discussions should be put in writing, for example in a policy, and should be in line with the employer's existing disciplinary and grievance policy.
Important issues for employers who intend to make vaccinations mandatory are also covered in our previous Q&A, where we answered common questions surrounding coronavirus testing and vaccinations.