The Indian government has given approval for the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Bharat Biotech and Oxford/ AstraZeneca. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has confirmed that the vaccination for COVID-19 will be voluntary. Taking the vaccination is beneficial as it reduces the spread of the virus and assures that the impact on business and the economy will be zero. Keeping this in mind the employers who are waiting for the smooth running of the business wanted all their employees to get vaccinated and therefore protected.
But as far as now, the vaccination in the present scenario is voluntary and nobody can be forced anyone to get vaccinated. While the official strategies regarding this may vary. Employers can watch the impact of working with staff who may not get vaccinated and can take measures that can alleviate the impact on business such as continuing the practice of remote working.
Since there is no government proposed rule for taking mandate vaccine for preventing the spread, it is not legally possible for the employer to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory to employees.
But the employer has the right to make the employees who are not vaccinated continue to work from home. If in case the employee can provide proper medical reasons such as he/she has a potential risk to such vaccination, then the employer may reconsider and make the situation feasible for that employee.
However, for the employee, it is not possible to refuse to come to the office for the reason that he/she is not vaccinated unless the employer has given permission to work remotely.
An individual’s medical records are considered as sensitive and personal data, but an employer has the right to ask the employee to share the information on whether he/she has been vaccinated. The vaccinated individuals receive an official SMS and QR code from the authorities regarding the status of the vaccination.
The employer can conduct a COVID-19 vaccination awareness program through posters, organizing medical camps, or by providing medical insurance cover for any future side-effects, etc and encourage employees to get vaccinated.