More than half of Belgian companies are in favour of extending the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to the workspace, a survey by HR services group Liantis shows.
Companies with more than 50 employees can now ask an internal or external occupational physician to gather information about the overall vaccination coverage of their employees, but his data cannot include information about individual employees.
However, Liantis' survey – taken by 1,504 companies – shows that 47.2% would also like to know who has or has not been vaccinated.
"Of course, we understand employers: they are legally obliged to safeguard the health of their employees. And knowing whether colleagues on the shop floor have been vaccinated or recently had a negative test can contribute to this," Matthias Debruyckere, legal expert at Liantis, told the Belga News Agency.
"But for the time being, it is impossible for an employer to ask for a CST from their employees. The law simply does not allow it," he said.
Employees should be able to decide freely whether or not to be vaccinated, Debruyckere said, adding that "it is not at all permissible for an employer to request medical data from their staff."
- Flemish businesses want mandatory vaccination, Wallonia and Brussels less convinced
- Make vaccination mandatory for teachers, waiters and hairdressers, say experts
- One in three employers will still use face masks, even if not mandatory
The survey also revealed that 36% of employers try to raise awareness on the shop floor to convince people of the benefits of vaccination; 25% would like to offer Covid-19 vaccination at the workplace in the future.
An earlier survey of more than 800 companies commissioned by HR services provider SD Worx also showed that more than six in ten Flemish SMEs are in favour of making vaccination mandatory for employees, with employers less likely to impose this measure in Wallonia and Brussels.
While 64% of SMEs (a company with fewer than 250 employees) in Flanders are in favour, less than half of those in Brussels (45.7%) and Wallonia (45.9%) support compulsory vaccination.
"Employers are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their employees and want to get back to normal life as quickly as possible, including at work. In that sense, this is reflected in the mood of Flemish SMEs," said Annelies Rottiers, SD Worx strategic consultant for SMEs.
In Brussels and Wallonia, one in five companies is against making vaccination mandatory for employees, while in Flanders, this is just one in ten.
At the end of August, the GEMS expert group advising the government on the pandemic recommended making vaccination mandatory for a number of professions, including teachers, waiters and hairdressers, after it was announced by the Consultative Committee that vaccination would become obligatory for healthcare workers.
Virologists and infectious disease experts including Steven Van Gucht, Marc Van Ranst and Erika Vlieghe urged the authorities to also “consider mandatory vaccination for professions with high occupational (individual) risk.”
Yet since the recommendation, the government has not made any further announcements regarding mandatory vaccination in any sector other than the healthcare sector.