To manage any workplace Covid-19 risks, an employer would need information on employee’s vaccine status and test results. But, who’s responsible for managing and tracking coronavirus employee data within a business?
HR to the rescue
It is likely that the burden of Covid-related policies will sit within HR and people management teams. It falls in line with their normal role of collating, handling, and storing employee-related data.
Early feedback backs this up with the majority of HR teams tasked with implementing vaccination policies for Covid-19. Research by Indeed Flex found that 70 per cent of employers are planning for a mandatory approach, this being a legal requirement for care homes in the UK after 11 November 2021.
Managing Covid-19 data places an additional strain on people managers who are faced with the unprecedented legal, data privacy and complexities of collating and tracking the information. But should we be putting extra responsibility onto HR and people managers and what support is needed?
Support for people teams
With many businesses returning or already back to the workplace, there's quite a lot of chatter about how to make the workplace Covid-safe. But, who is actually looking at employees and how any Covid data should be used?
Adam Reynolds, UK spokesperson for ELMO software said: “It's an incredibly important task that HR teams are being asked to handle and it’s vital that employers provide teams with the backing and resources they need to manage this.
“We need to avoid thinking about Covid-19 management as just being HR’s responsibility and to make sure that it’s something that’s shared by everyone working within an organisation.”
Providing HR support
While the task of collecting coronavirus data may fall on HR teams, overall the duty of care responsibilities remain with business owners and employers. To fulfil this, businesses should look at supporting people teams with the following:
- Legal support: Help to ensure that data collection is legal,compliant and in line with GDPR
- Health and workplace expertise: To assess whether work processes and locations are Covid-19 safe
- Administration: Does HR have the tools needed to securely track and store Covid-19 employee data?
While HR managers do have a major part to play, effective Covid data strategies are coming and will be required in businesses as a team effort. Employers will need to make sure they are prepared and provide the resources and support needed to implement strategies and minimise risks.