It is a “good idea” for people to have two coronavirus vaccine doses before returning to work but the government will not make it the law, Grant Shapps has said.
The transport secretary told Kay Burley on Sky News that some companies may require employees to have received two jabs before entering the office again but that the government will not be legislating on the matter.
It comes as reports suggest Netflix, Google and Facebook will roll out a policy which requires all staff to be fully vaccinated to enter their workplaces when they are completely reopened amid rising cases in the United States.
For streaming service Netflix, it means all actors on shows on its platform must have had two coronavirus jabs to return to sets.
Exemptions will be made for medical reasons, it is believed.
Asked whether he would back a similar proposal from UK-based firms, Mr Shapps said: “Yes it is a good idea and yes some companies will require it.
“We are not going to make that legislation that every adult has to be double vaccinated before they go back to the office, but yes it is a good idea and yes some companies will require it.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he did not agree with a “jabs for jobs” policy.
“I don’t agree with that. I can see a case for vaccine passports, alongside testing, when it comes to big sporting events or mass events, certainly for international travel,” Sir Keir told reporters.
“But for day-to-day routine – access to the office, access to health services or dentistry or even food – I don’t agree with vaccine passports for day-to-day access.”
Labour’s work and pensions minister Jonathan Reynolds added that mandating a double vaccine requirement for workers to return to their offices is “not the practical way forward”.
“I would disagree with what I heard from the transport secretary. I think, in terms of vaccine passports, they are not for everyday life – not for work, not for nipping to the pub or getting a pint of milk,” shadow minister Mr Reynolds told Kay Burley.
“We would listen to the case for large scale events if the way to get large sporting or cultural events back on was a combination of showing people’s status with their vaccine and testing I could listen to a case for that.
“But I wouldn’t want them for everyday life or to try and enforce them for people going to work.”
Pressed on why not, Mr Reynolds told Sky News: “We all want to see that vaccination rate as high as possible, I just think compulsion is the wrong message to have on that. I think that might produce a negative result overall to what we all want to see achieved.
“And I also think you’ve got to look at questions of enforceability – how would that operate and situate that it was done fairly, that people weren’t discriminated against in some way.”