Many employees are being left in the dark regarding their company’s policy on the COVID-19 vaccine, with only 17 per cent reporting having a conversation about this.

A survey of 5,000 UK workers by BrightHR has shown that many workers do not yet know what the company policy regarding inoculation is. However, a third stated that they expect it to be made mandatory.

In response to this, a fifth of workers said they would fear for their health if their employer failed to make the vaccine mandatory.

On the other side of the debate, two-thirds of employees questioned believed it would be too controlling for their employer to impose such measures.

This has largely been the view shared by law firms who have stated mandatory vaccinations could lead to a rise in unfair dismissal claims as well as discrimination claims, especially when the employee has a religious or medical reasoning for refusing to receive the vaccine.

As such, over a third of workers confessed they would worry that people, for which it would not be safe to receive the vaccine, would push for it anyway in order to keep their job.

Analysing industries, workers within the hospitality industry were most likely to believe vaccinations were a good idea (44 per cent), owing to the people-centric nature of their roles.

However, this view was only shared by a quarter (24 per cent) of office workers and even fewer key workers (21 per cent).

Almost one in seven (13 per cent) stated they would not be receiving the vaccine due to the fear of side effects.

This was of particular concern to hospitality workers who expressed significant worry about having to take time off work in the scenario that they did develop side effects. Over three-quarters felt that, as they had returned to work so recently, having to take time off to recover would not be a favourable outcome to them.

However, this difference in opinion when it comes to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is making employees anxious.

For almost half of office workers (47 per cent), they shared that they would have concerns over using shared facilities such as lifts, kitchens and toilets with other companies who might have different views on vaccines.

However, four in five (80 per cent) did trust their employer to keep their office clean and hygienic for staff.

Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR stated:

Although half of people expect their employer to demand a vaccine passport, it remains to be seen how reasonable those demands are and, therefore, whether the employer is acting lawfully in doing so.

Employers must tread carefully when requiring employees to have the vaccine and ensure that their circumstances are appropriate. It may well become that the Government will require employees in some sectors to have the vaccine, and the passport will be a simple way of evidencing that.

It’s good to see from our research that employers have started discussing the vaccine protocols they will put in place and how it will work.

For employers who haven’t, now is the time to start discussing with staff the next steps of how your company will be proceeding with opening of offices/workplaces.

*An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 5,005 respondents from the UK. The research fieldwork took place on 1st April – 8th April 2021.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.