Vaccination Privacy A Big Issue For Employers

19 Aug 2021 | 10.31 am

Vaccination Privacy A Big Issue For Employers

HRLocker is offering a cloud-based solution

19 Aug 2021 | 10.31 am

Almost half of employers worry that they could be sued by their employees over Covid-19, either due directly to the disease or indirectly as a result of stress. 

A survey of 600 business leaders by cloud-based human resources software company HRLocker has shown that privacy issues around employees’ vaccination status are creating significant challenges for 71% of organisations seeking to reopen their offices.

According to the survey results, lack of insight into workers’ vaccine status has increased costs for 86% of respondents — legal advice, additional health and safety measurements, and more — while 53% said it was delaying reopening plans and 34% said it was having a negative effect on employee relations.

Asked if they believed their employees wished to return to the office, 84% of respondents answered ‘yes’, with 78% stating their teams desired the introduction of a hybrid working model, where they could work remotely part of the week.

The survey also showed that 15% of executives would be willing to dismiss an employee who refused to get vaccinated without a reasonable excuse, a significant drop from a survey by HRLocker in January, in which 40% claimed they would take such measures. 

While only 8% said they plan to mandate vaccination, down from 23% in January, 61% of employers would like to see government make it a necessary requirement, while an overwhelming 85% called for greater guidance on the collection of employee vaccination data.

Chief executive Adam Coleman said: “The focus for most businesses now is on reopening safely. Whether they adopt a hybrid working model, or desire a full return to the office, what businesses need now is assurance — assurance that their employees can return to the office safely, and assurance that they won’t be penalised for requesting employees’ vaccination status.”

His company has developed a vaccination status tracker for its platform, compliant with the GDPR and with guidance from the Data Protection Commission. There, relevant information on staff vaccinations may be stored and processed, a facility which has already proven successful for managing frontline workers in public and private sector organisations.

Coleman added: “We’re putting measures in place now to ensure our clients are in the best possible position if and when government guidance on vaccine status checks is updated to support businesses.

“However, it is imperative that employers seek legal advice to ensure their compliance with all regulatory and industry requirements and that the use of data is fair, relevant and necessary for a specific purpose.”

Photo: COO at HRLocker Crystel Rynne

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