HE vaccinations statement - what you need to know

The national HE employers, UCEA, and the five HE trade unions have agreed on a statement on vaccinations. The key points of the statement are that employers should:

• allow paid time off for staff to be vaccinated

• encourage staff to take up the offer of vaccines

• ensure that COVID health and safety measures remain in place even after staff are vaccinated

• engage with students unions and private contractors to make sure that they also take the same approach on vaccination for their employees

• make sure that staff don't suffer a detriment if they can't have the vaccine

You can read the statement in full below:

Joint statement between UCEA and the HE trade unions on staff vaccinations

UCEA and the joint trade unions (EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite) have agreed this statement in their continued efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Higher Education staff.

UCEA and the joint trade unions:

• support the current roll out of Covid-19 vaccines across the UK

• will work together to encourage uptake of vaccination across the sector

• encourage all Higher Education (HE) staff to get vaccinated when offered the opportunity through the NHS

• recommend and encourage that all HE employers give paid time off to enable staff to attend vaccination appointments where it is not possible to schedule an appointment outside working hours support HEIs engaging with contractors, student unions and other employers operating on campus to encourage paid time off for the appointments for everyone working there where it is not possible to schedule an appointment outside working hours

• advise that if setting a vaccination policy, HE employers should follow a voluntary approach as part of their aims and objectives, recognising that there maybe valid medical, cultural or other important factors why individuals may not want or be able to be vaccinated and, were not legally required to do so, they should suffer no detriment

• encourage HEIs, where staff have concerns about the vaccination process, to listen to them with respect and to seek to reassure them through the provision of factual material from e.g. PHE/NHS

• acknowledge that although vaccines work very well, they are not 100% effective; therefore, appropriate risk assessments and controls are still required

• reiterate that HEIs follow the Principles for working safely on campus during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and remind staff that they are required to comply with the necessary precautions/social distancing requirements and wear necessary PPE (unless exempt), even after being vaccinated.

25 March 2021