Could vaccination status become a condition of employment in accountancy?

Vaccination status – is it relevant to accountancy recruitment?

It’s a huge topic in 2022 and one that we know can cause a lot of controversy. But just because it’s divisive doesn’t mean it’s not a really important topic that HR managers in accountancy and job seeking accountants need to consider. So, as you’d expect from your trusted partner in recruitment, we’ve prepared an article to help you decide your firm’s stance.

What’s the situation report in industry generally?

There’s been a real shift in attitude towards COVID 19 in 2022. You can really sense that the government and popular opinion are swaying towards a desire to start living alongside this disease and for it to be downgraded to endemic status (which means generally circulating and in many ways predictable) as opposed to pandemic status (which demonstrates exponential rises in prevalence of a disease.)

And in line with that downgrade would come shifts in how we behave as a population. Changes to our behaviour, changes to our healthcare system and changes in organisational processes to reflect the need to protect public health. And that final need for change is the one that this issue falls under.

The question is…. can and should firms be requesting that non-exempt accountants maintain an up to date vaccination status.

The answer.…. it’s early days but at this stage there are several reasons why we believe it could be yes.

We’re already seeing this happening in many sectors. The first to go, unsurprisingly, was the NHS with the following regulation now mandatory with full effect from the 1st April (though there’s talk this may now be pushed back.)

‘The regulations provide that the registered person can only deploy or otherwise engage a person for the purposes of the provision of a CQC-regulated activity, in which they have direct, face to face contact with patients and service users, if the person provides evidence that they have been vaccinated with a complete course of a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved COVID-19 vaccine. This is subject to specific exemptions and conditions.’

Now, we’ve all been told that vaccination against COVID 19 doesn’t lessen someone’s chances of catching the disease or indeed of passing it on (symptomatically or not). So many antivax campaigners have asked the question ‘what difference does my vaccination status make to employer?

The answer is plenty!

Workers who are fully vaccinated are significantly less likely to suffer with severe disease and on a large scale this is a benefit that will affect employers.

Severe disease means higher levels of staff absence. Severe disease means higher payouts of statutory and contractual staff sick pay. Severe disease is more likely to cause significant operational disturbances. The list from a workforce perspective goes on.

And globally, big hitting firms are implementing a ‘no jab, no job’ policy (all with exemptions for those who are medically unable) – and we’re talking BIG firms – Google and Facebook for example.

But the UK has been slower to respond, in part due to the Equality Act of 2010 which makes a mandatory vaccination regime harder to implement. And this means that lawyers up and down the county will be battling to create caselaw for others to decide their policy on.

But at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we have already seen firms requesting a declaration of vaccination status from candidates submitting their CVs and we feel certain that this direction of travel will only ramp up in time.

So, if you’re an employer wondering whether to make vaccination status something you ask to know more about from your potential employees and one step on, potentially a condition of employment, you’ll find some useful guidance on the topic here.

Find out what The Information Commissioner’s Office has to say on the topic from a data collection perspective here.

Read the Chartered Institute of Personal Development’s take on how to roll out a vaccination policy without finding yourself in HR hot water here.

‘The topic of what firms can and can’t do when it comes to vaccination status is complex and one that an increasing number of employers are wanting to understand more about. As leader of people myself and personally as a relative of multiple front-line NHS workers, I’m all for encouraging workers to get vaccinated and protecting not just our communities but our firms and our ability to maintain business as usual. ‘

Garry Howling, MD

To work with a firm of niche recruiters that you can trust to offer first-class service delivery as well as trusted advice and resources on all aspects of HR in practice, contact us today. And be sure to take a deep dive into our library of helpful leadership resources in our employer’s hub.

 

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