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17 Feb 2021 | 10:52

Companies prepare 'no-jab, no-job' contracts - report

(Sharecast News) - UK companies are preparing to present employees with "no jab, no job" contracts as the government conceded it was up to businesses to decide on the measure, the Financial Times reported. Groups ranging from care-home operators to big multinationals are considering contracts for new and existing staff making it compulsory to have a Covid-19 vaccination once the UK population has been offered the jabs, law firms told the FT.

The CIPD, an organisation for personnel professionals, said members in the care sector, dentistry and food manufacturing had asked about how to handle staff who refused vaccinations. A City lawyer told the FT international groups, including a big energy company, were looking at the matter.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC: "It's up to business what they do but we don't yet have the evidence of the effect of vaccines on transmission." Zahawi's previous position was that vaccine passports within the UK would be wrong.

Pimlico Plumbers caused a stir in January when owner Charlie Mullins said he would adopt a "no vaccine, no job" policy. Lawyers warned that legislation banned companies from forcing employees to have medical treatment.

Zahawi responded to Mullins's comments by saying the policy would be discriminatory. "We're not that sort of country and I think it's important we do it by persuasion," he said. Mullins confused matters when he said no one would be forced to receive a vaccine or be fired over the matter.

The government does not plan to outlaw companies using domestic vaccine passports but officials expect the contracts to be tested in court, the FT said. The requirement could be challenged by people on religious grounds, because of pregnancy and for health conditions that could be classed as a disability.

"Companies must ensure their business practices are legal and don't discriminate against customers or employees," an official told the paper.

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