According to research by Acas, the conciliation agency, a quarter of employers have not given their staff paid time off for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations and have no plans to allow it.

The poll did find, however, that six out of ten (59 per cent) employers have been giving staff paid time off for appointments. Another four per cent had not provided the time off, but planned to do so in the future.

In its advice to employers, Acas points out that it is in their own best interests to offer paid time off as fully vaccinated workers are less likely to need longer periods of time off work to recover from the effects of COVID-19, should they contract it.

The poll also asked businesses about whether they would be paying full company sick pay to staff who were off sick with COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

It found that:

  • a quarter (26 per cent) had not been paying full company sick pay and had no plans to change
  • half (50 per cent) were already paying full sick pay
  • six per cent had not been, but planned to do so in the future.

To support staff in terms of getting the vaccine, Acas advises employers to consider offering paid time off for vaccination appointments as well as paying staff their usual rate of pay if they are off sick with vaccine side effects.

It also advises employers to ignore vaccine-related time off sick as part of their absence record system if they operate a review or “trigger” point to keep track of sickness absence for their staff.

Acas commissioned YouGov to poll senior decision makers in a representative sample of British businesses. The survey was carried out online and the total sample size was 2,030 adults. Fieldwork was carried out between 15 and 28 June 2021.

To read the findings from the poll in more detail, click here.