While the national vaccination campaigns have made considerable progress lately, there are still many people who have not yet been vaccinated, some of whom are hesitant to receive the vaccine at all. At the same time, discussions emerge whether and when a follow-up vaccination of already vaccinated people might be required. Against this background and encouraged by the positive feedback on the first edition published in March 2021, we have updated our guide on vaccination incentives, including the key legal aspects to be considered (e.g., equal treatment principle, proof of vaccination). Colleagues from 28 countries provide their views on the elementary legal aspects involved with introducing and implementing employer incentives in return for a COVID-19 vaccination.

The guide is built around the following six questions:

  • Is it legally permissible for employers to provide an incentive to employees for being vaccinated against COVID-19? If so, how can this incentive be implemented (e.g., special payment, bonus in kind or additional annual leave)?
  • Can information/consultation rights of employee representatives be triggered? If so, what specifically do the information/consultation rights require?
  • Can the equal treatment principle be affected? If so, how can a breach be avoided or resolved?
  • Can the employer ask for proof that the vaccination has actually taken place? Are there any data protection aspects to be considered?
  • Do taxes and/or social security contributions have to be paid? What applies to the different vaccination incentives?
  • Can the vaccination incentive be limited? If so, are there any specific requirements to be met?

This guide is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. Because the COVID-19 situation is dynamic, with new governmental measures each day, employers should consult with counsel for the latest developments and updated guidance on this topic. This particularly applies to all aspects around employee data protection, in particular under GDPR.