SME Chamber

An informative webinar on Covid-19 and Vaccinations

Keeping the workplace safe without breaching employment and personal data regulations

During our most recent Webinar: Covid and Vaccinations, which was held on the 28th of July in collaboration with the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) and the Office of Information and Data Protection Commission (IDPC), we interpreted the requirements of the regulations on employment and personal data in relation to Covid-19 and vaccinations.

This webinar focused on assisting businesses on how to handle situations arising at the place of work.

Both DIER and IDPC representatives replied to issues arising and replying to questions such as: can I force my employees to get vaccinated?, can I ask my employees if they have been vaccinated?, Can I ask employees to carry out routine swabbing?, amongst other questions.

Following this webinar we’ve prepared a few Q and A’s which surely answer most of your questions:

  • Can I ask employees to carry out routine swabbing?

The health authorities are already catering for when swab tests are required. In order to ask for additional swab tests, employers should have a very valid reason which goes beyond the general health concern.

  • Can I ask my employees if they have been vaccinated?

Employers should avoid collecting personal data of employees. As far as possible therefore, any exchange of information should be done verbally and no records to be kept. At no point are employees obliged to pass on such data unless there is a strong necessity to do so. On the other hand employers may request a doctors certificate confirming that employees are fit to return to work.

  • Can I oblige employees to inform me when travelling?

In the same way this was not possible before Covid, it is similarly not possible now. Employees do not need to disclose their reasons to require leave, yer it is at the employers’ discretion to approve it or otherwise. Keeping however also in mind that any leave not availed from would need to be compensated for unless this would be agreed to be carried forward.

There is an only exception when travelling to a red-list country. In that case the travel information must be disclosed.

  • Can I retain data and ask for swabs if my employees agreed to it?

Agreeing with employees is always the best way forward and things should always be done in the interest of the collective. Employers however should be aware that in terms of employment regulation this is a very important principle but in terms of data protection, agreement between employer and employee holds much weight. It is therefore still important to act tactfully in terms of data collection and retention.

  • If an employer requires to collect data due to specific circumstances?

Employers should start by carrying out a risk assessment and following this consulting with with the Office of Information and Data Protection Commission (IDPC) for guidance.

Members that would like to receive the link to view this webinar should send on email to 

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