Nearly 60% of employers want right to ask if staff have received Covid vaccine, survey says

New research also indicates 41% of employers are planning some redundancies

Nearly 60 per cent of employers would like the right to ask an employee if they have received a Covid-19 vaccine, survey findings released at a major industrial relations conference reveal.

The joint survey carried out by human resource organisation CIPD Ireland and Industrial Relations News also found that 39 per cent of employers believe they should have the right to ask a worker for proof of vaccination.

The survey also indicated that 41 per cent planned some redundancies.

Mary Connaughton of CIPD told the Industrial Relations News (IRN) annual conference on Friday that employers had very little clarity in relation to staff who did not want to be vaccinated.


“What we found interesting in our survey was how many employers [58 per cent] want to be able to find out about vaccinations. Their key ask is they want to ask employees if they are vaccinated so they actually know.”

The survey found 49 per cent of employers who participated in it did not have or plan any conditions for staff who had not received a vaccine. However, 38 per cent suggested such employees could continue to work from home.

Ms Connaughton also said that 66 per cent of employers in the survey believed a key issue in the coming year would be key personnel seeking to work remotely, while 36 per cent pointed to staff wanting to work from abroad.

She also suggested that a discussion was very much taking place “at the coalface” regarding the issue of pay in the context of remote working.

“We are hearing it in terms of people saying remote working means you have less costs so why should you get a premium; we are hearing it from people who are coming into the workplace and saying they want the premium as they have now travel and creche costs and less work-life balance. So we are really going to see quite a debate about that over the coming time.”

The CIPD/IRN survey, which involved 225 companies, also found that 38 per cent of employers planned to increase pay this year, 32 per cent planned to hold it stable and nearly 30 per cent had made no decision on this yet. Only 1 per cent envisaged pay cuts.

Deferred payment arrangement

Separately Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the conference that the Government is to put in place a deferred payment arrangement to support businesses in meeting redundancy costs as the pandemic eases here.

Mr Martin said that when the suspension of the right of workers who have been laid off temporarily to trigger redundancy claims is lifted in September, “we will ensure businesses in financial difficulties are supported with a deferred payment arrangement while ensuring employees receive their entitlements”.

The Government has extended until September the current suspension of the right of workers who have been laid off temporarily to seek redundancy from their employer.

In an address to the conference, Mr Martin said the level of budgetary support provided to employers and workers – at almost €38 billion – amid the pandemic had been “extraordinary”. He said this represented nearly one-fifth of national income.

Earlier this month Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Employment Leo Varadkar suggested the Government could offer interest-free loans to businesses that face difficulties in meeting redundancy payments for staff following the pandemic.

Mr Martin said the Government wanted to see 2.5 million people in work by 2024.

The Taoiseach said the Government was also “looking at how we can strengthen engagement and dialogue with social partners”.

He said the value of the Labour-Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) had been demonstrated throughout the pandemic. He said it had allowed “for early and regular consultation on the employment supports put in place”.

Mr Martin also said the Government was “open to new ideas which can provide a balanced and stable industrial relations framework, suitable for a modern competitive economy”, arising from the work of a new high-level group which it established to look at issues such as collective bargaining rights.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent