A third of KBB retailers will require staff to be vaccinated

A third of KBB retailers said that they would require their staff – in the showroom or installers working in people’s homes – to be vaccinated.

The kbbreview100, a think-tank of KBB retailers in the UK, were asked if they would require their employees to have the vaccine. The debate was started by Charlie Mullins, owner of Pimlico Plumbers, who said he will not employ anyone without a Covid-19 vaccine.

Those who said they would require their staff to be vaccinated, said that this policy had caused no issues as their staff took the same view and wanted to be vaccinated.

Justine Bullock, director of The Tap End in Pontyclun, has the health and safety concerns of her customers and her staff at the heart of the decision. She said: “Everyone who works for us has had at least one jab now. If we were faced with the situation where someone has chosen not to have a jab, I think we would have to seriously consider whether we felt that was OK or not – and bluntly, if it’s potentially endangering clients and other staff, then how can that be OK?”

Some companies have not needed to set up vaccination policies because all employees have opted in out of their own accord. Kate Holderness, owner of Urban Kitchens in Preston, believes that she should not be able to force staff to have the vaccine. However, she said: “All our staff have opted to get the vaccine. I feel extremely proud of how responsible they have been about this.”

Nearly all retailers who were polled said they have had conversations with their staff about getting the vaccine, even if they had no plans to make it compulsory. Also, many said they were aware when their own staff, and even subcontracted installers, had been vaccinated.

KBB retailers are still following the letter of the law in their showrooms and ensuring that both staff and customers adhere to social distancing guidelines. The momentum of the past year has not slowed, with retailers still cleaning showrooms regularly and keeping surfaces sanitised.  

Several retailers said they required staff to do regular lateral flow tests. The lateral flow tests are free and can be ordered online at the NHS website or picked up from pharmacies. More accurate tests are also available. However, these will cost either the company or individual a lot of money.

Dave Jarvis, owner of Albion Bathrooms Kitchens Electricals in Burton-on-Trent, has a implemented a variety of health and safety procedures. He said: “We enforce wearing of masks in the showroom whenever customers are present and regularly take temperatures of staff in addition to weekly lateral flow tests. Staff are encouraged to maintain social distancing with other members of staff wherever possible and taking supplier deliveries in through the back door is also a mask-wearing exercise. NHS Test and Trace is mandatory for all visitors.”

On the other hand, John Pelosi, director Caldicot Kitchen and Bathroom Centre in south Wales, is not enforcing vaccination or regular testing for his staff, as he believes they can be trusted. He said: “Staff are aware they have a general duty of care to other staff and our customers, but are trusted to be sensible in exercising that duty. Other than the expected reporting of illness/absence, or if they wish to disclose any medical issues to us, their medical situation is their own private affair.”

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