Reasons for a clear and definitive YES to COVID-19 vaccinations
Mandatory vaccination is not to be expected. Nevertheless, employers and employees can greatly benefit from COVID-19 vaccinations. This is true from a health, economic and legal perspective. Companies which recognize these benefits (early on) will have a significant competitive advantage.
Therefore, management should include the following benefits of a COVID-19 vaccination in their strategic considerations:
|Vaccination as competitive advantage||Customers and business partners clearly prefer to interact with vaccinated rather than non-vaccinated employees. In addition, any absences from work due to quarantines can effectively be avoided. Thus, the employment of vaccinated employees establishes a significant competitive advantage in the market.|
|Efficient exploitation of resources||Once the workforce is vaccinated, expensive protective measures against the risk of infection at the workplace can be reduced. This improves the atmosphere within the workforce, which had to support previous protective measures. Also, personnel planning will become reliable again, as staff shortages due to repeated quarantine will cease. Against this background, resources can be exploited efficiently again based on COVID-19 vaccinations.|
|Duty of care vis-à-vis employees||If employers ensure that their employees are vaccinated, they are complying with their legal duty of care towards their employees. The duty of care obliges employers to strictly eliminate infections at the workplace to the best of their ability. A violation of the duty of care may trigger damage claims by employees. So, COVID-19 vaccinations contribute a great deal in reducing the employer’s risk of liability vis-à-vis employees.|
|Duty of care vis-à-vis customers and third parties||As vaccination coverage increases within the workforce, companies are also protecting their customers and business partners from being infected by employees. Thus, by ensuring COVID-19 vaccination of employees, companies pro-actively protect themselves against potential claims for damages from third parties.|
Pro-active measures to achieve these benefits
Of course, employers can neither impose vaccinations on employees on their own nor in cooperation with the works council, as the COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary. Consequently, in order to achieve the positive effects of the COVID-19 vaccination, employers must take action and encourage their employees.
- Encouragement to vaccination. In addition to informational events regarding COVID-19 vaccination, companies can promote COVID-19 vaccination to employees through company vaccination campaigns. Additionally, employers can make COVID-19 vaccinations more attractive through other incentives. This can be achieved, for example, through non-monetary benefits, such as time off for the day of vaccination, or monetary benefits (“vaccination bonus”).
- Evaluation of the immunization status. Apart from company vaccination campaigns, the clarification of the vaccination status of the employees will be crucial. A simple survey concerning the employees’ vaccination status should be legally clarified in advance, in particular for reasons of data protection and co-determination vis-à-vis the works council.
- Dealing with individuals who refuse to comply with the vaccination strategy. The way in which individuals who are sceptical towards the operational strategy regarding COVID-19 vaccination are dealt with has an enormous impact on the willingness of other employees to get vaccinated. Employers should therefore take a clear position as early as possible and determine options for dealing with such employees.
Set of measures for employers
In order for a company to benefit from advantages of COVID-19 vaccination, precise preparation is required. Against this background, we have put together a compact set of measures for your company, which we will be happy to adapt to your individual needs. Our offer includes four main areas:
- Creation of a contractual set of rules regarding vaccinations. We evaluate necessary and beneficial regulations based on your company’s vaccination strategy. We also create vaccination guidelines for company vaccination campaigns and design incentive systems.
- Works council and vaccination. A variety of information and co-determination rights of the works council exists in the context of COVID-19 vaccination. These range from the employer’s obligation to inform and consult with the works council to possibly concluding a shop agreement.
- Dealing with employees rejecting the operational strategy. Dealing with individuals in a fair and correct way can effectively avoid long-lasting litigation. Therefore, we are happy to identify possible options and support you by implementing the most suitable options for you.
- Data protection. Health data is sensitive data. Processing such data is subject to strict guidelines. We will be happy to prepare the necessary documentation, such as individual consent forms for COVID-19 vaccinations, in order to implement company vaccination campaigns, guidelines and data protection notices, etc.
We would be happy to provide legal advice and support for your company regarding COVID-19 vaccinations in an employment context.
Please feel free to reach out to us. We are very happy to remain at your disposal at any time.
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