Jersey reached a milestone yesterday as over 50% of the adult population has received at least their first Covid-19 vaccination. With WFO due to resume over the course of April in Jersey, it is likely that the remainder of the working adult population will be offered a vaccine appointment when they have returned to the office or work and may need to attend those appointments during their working day. So do employers have to let employees take time off to attend their appointment and do they have to pay?
First things first - employment laws in Jersey do not require employers to give employees paid time off to receive any medical treatments (including the Covid-19 vaccine). Nor do they require employers to allow employees time off during the working day. So there is no legal requirement to do this.
In our experience most employers have a policy that requires employees, where possible, to attend medical appointments outside of work hours or in their lunchbreak. However, it may not be possible on a practical level for employees to get appointments at this time.
So employers in Jersey may want to consider allowing employees time off to attend their vaccine appointment. This is particularly the case if you are requiring your employees to have the vaccine (once eligible) before they return to work. In those circumstances it would seem unreasonable to restrict when the employee gets the vaccine and this is likely to undermine uptake in your workforce and when you can reintegrate your full team.
Furthermore, as we see more employers move towards hybrid working patterns, this is also one of those areas that we anticipate businesses understanding and supporting - allowing employees flexibility in their working day to attend appointments such as these. If employees are able to work agilely, then they should be able to attend the appointment and make up the time later in the day.
So what about pay? I've dealt with the legal position, and so ultimately this a commercial decision. But it could be one way of distinguishing yourself as an employer of choice.
The TUC’s survey of 1,002 firms found 45% had committed to letting staff take time off work, with pay, once they were offered an appointment.