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COVID-19 vaccinations for employees posted abroad

Vaccinations against COVID-19 are in full swing in the Czech Republic. Currently, 30-year-olds may register to get their shots; from June, registration should open for all persons over the age of 16. This means that virtually the entire productive population can, but is not obliged to, get vaccinated. From the labour law perspective, Czech employers cannot make vaccinations mandatory for their employees, in our opinion. But is the situation the same abroad?

According to information available to us, the approach differs across countries. Legal regulations pertaining to vaccinations are still evolving, and the professional public’s opinion is not always united. In the United States of America, e.g., employers may, with some exceptions (such as religious objections or health risk) require employees to get vaccinated, according to some opinions. In the United Kingdom, the same option should be available to employers in high-risk sectors, such as social care and healthcare services. Employers in Italy may also have a similar opportunity. In Canada, the situation varies depending on individual jurisdictions.

For Czech employers, the above means that if they decide to post their employees abroad on a long-term basis, they should consider employee vaccination issues when checking the conditions of employment in the host country. The vaccination obligation should be checked from the perspective of the host country’s legislation, and from the perspective of the receiving company. Although so far it seems that most countries approach the issue of employee vaccination in a similar way to the Czech Republic, there has been news that some foreign companies require their employees to be vaccinated. Reuters recently reported that Delta Air Lines will require new employees in the United States to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Legislation and case law concerning the COVID-19 pandemic are still being established, and it is not yet clear in which direction they will develop. Employers posting their employees abroad can only be advised to consider vaccination issues in addition to immigration, tax or social security issues when checking the conditions of the postings.