Pimlico Plumbers has introduced one of the UK’s first “no-frills, no-job” policies – stating that all new employees must be vaccinated in order to be hired.
Charlie Mullins, owner of 50 million business, said the new recruits would be denied employment if they did not get a Covid vaccine once it became available to the public.
It comes a month after the boss revealed he was drafting lawyers to enforce mandatory regulations – despite legal experts warning that it could be in violation of labor laws.
He said staff would not dispute the policy, claiming they would “crawl through the bare snow to get a vaccine at the moment”.
Going a step further, Mullins revealed that he has left $ 800 million to help his staff get vaccinated once it becomes available on the high street.
The concept of ‘no-hit, no-job’ has sparked much debate in recent weeks, with caregiver Barchester Healthcare among other firms introducing policy to all staff unless they are excluded from medicine.
Pimlico Plumbers – which employs thousands of traders – said the policy could also be added to existing contracts, though he insisted no one would be forced to get a vaccine or get fired for the issue.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that “it’s up to businesses what they do”, but the Unison union said it was “completely unacceptable” for firms to put pressure on staff to take the blow.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday on LBC radio that politics is at the discretion of employers.
“Accurate relationships and communications between employers and employees are an issue we would like to leave to responsible employers, but it is not the land law that you should vaccinate,” he said.
“We have obviously talked to our lawyers and they are very happy that we can add this proposal to any new employee who starts with us once the vaccine is filled,” Mullins told Channel 4 News.
“We are in regular contact with our staff from our Human Resources department and I think people would be crawling through the bare snow to get a vaccine at the moment.”
Speaking on Radio 4 today, Mullins revealed he has left 800,000 to pay for inoculations for more than 400 workers once private immunizations become available.
“When people come together for a job with us if they are not happy to sign that then it is their choice but of course they will not be given a job with Pimlico Plumbers.
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“We would not dream of forcing anyone, but I am very sure that 99 percent of our staff will be fired on occasion.
“Who in their right mind will turn down a needle or a blow that could save your life?”
“It is not a contradiction because I think you will find it if you encourage people and advise them … I am happy to pay for anyone who works for us to get the vaccine,” he said.
The government has pledged to vaccinate 15 million people in Britain by mid-February, with Boris Johnson promising that 200,000 doses will be administered daily by the end of the week.
Vaccines will also soon be available on the high street, along with around 50 distributors who will be deployed to locations across the UK in a bid to take the blow to as many Britons as possible .
However, lawyers have suggested that such employment conditions could lead to allegations of discrimination or constructive leave.
Nick Hurley, attorney at Charles Russell Speechlys said: “‘No shock, no job’ may seem obvious and concise, but if an employer can make it mandatory for employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine it is very simple.
“While employers have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their staff, which may include minimizing the spread of Covid-19 in the office, there are many other factors to consider.
“By requiring employees to be vaccinated, employers may inadvertently violate anti-discrimination legislation. For example, employees may have a disability which means they are unable to be vaccinated, so implementing a vaccination policy may cause a claim of disability discrimination.
“The same can be said for other factors that contribute to refusal of vaccination such as pregnancy, race, age or belief.
“In connection with the latter, it may happen that employees who consider themselves ardent ‘anti-vaccinators’ will try to claim protection against discrimination by arguing that their belief in vaccines amounts to a philosophical belief.
“This may seem distant, but other cases have not always been intuitive about what beliefs attract protection in law.
“That said, employers have a duty to begin preparing and assessing the impact of the wider range of vaccines on their employees.”