Can schools refuse teachers who are not double jabbed?

Overview

Can schools refuse to let teachers work if they are not double jabbed? Can schools turn away supply staff who arrive and are not double jabbed? We’ve been asked these questions from a number of our subscribers.

Taking the Covid-19 vaccine is a voluntary decision for each individual to make. It is not mandatory for members of staff in schools in the UK to be vaccinated to work. Members of staff should not be discriminated against if they have decided not to take the vaccine.

ACAS explains the law in England says that only care home staff and volunteers must be vaccinated. There’s currently no other law in England, Wales or Scotland that says people must have the vaccine.

In this support article, we look at information from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Department for Education (DfE).

Covid-19 operational guidance for schools: DfE 

The DfE has published ‘Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance.’ The guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus in their school. However, it does not say that teachers are required to take the vaccine to access the workplace.

The guidance explains that employers should be able to explain the measures they have in place to keep staff safe at work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and you have been refused entry to your workplace because you are unvaccinated you can contact us for support and advice.

Vaccination and COVID pass checks: ICO

The ICO has produced guidance for vaccination and covid pass checks for employers. It explains 

a person’s COVID status is special category data, as it is their private health information. The employer’s use of this data must be fair, relevant and necessary for a specific purpose.

Data protection is one of a number of factors to consider when employers are thinking about implementing COVID-status checks. The employer should take into account:

  • Employment law and your contracts with employees (if you are considering checking employees’ COVID status);
  • Health and safety requirements; and
  • Equalities and human rights, including privacy rights

The employer’s reason for checking or recording people’s COVID status must be clear, necessary, and transparent. If it cannot specify a use for this information and are checking it on a ‘just in case’ basis, or if it can achieve the goal without collecting this data, the employer is unlikely to be able to justify collecting it.

The use of this information must not result in any unjustified treatment of employees or visitors. The employer should only use it for purposes they would reasonably expect. The employer’s processing of this information must be fair and if the collection or use of COVID status information is likely to have a negative consequence for someone, the employer must be able to justify it.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.