Vaccine passports in the workplace are being considered by nearly a third of major businesses, according to industry surveys.
More than 30 per cent of large UK firms have signalled that staff may be asked for proof of vaccination before they can physically return to work.
It comes after the Government appeared to suggest that the NHS App should be used by businesses to ensure office workers had received both jabs.
In a survey of 1,000 firms conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce, 31 per cent of firms with more than 50 employees suggested they were considering introducing so-called vaccine passports.
Nine per cent said they already required staff to provide proof of vaccination, while eight per cent said they were “likely” to introduce it in the future. Others said they were gathering more information before making a final decision.
A separate poll of 1,000 business leaders conducted by Owl Labs, a video conferencing company, found that 23 per cent of firms in the UK were planning to introduce the requirement.
A source at the British Chambers of Commerce said: “Most firms are extremely confused by the Government’s guidance on vaccine passports. For many it is unclear as to whether they should use the NHS App to ensure the workplace is Covid safe.
“But a number of businesses are either planning to ask for vaccine certification or have already made their own arrangements.”
Overall, 78 per cent of respondents to the BCC survey said they had no plans to ask staff for proof of vaccination. More than three in four companies (76 per cent) also expect to keep social distancing in place over the next year, while 54 per cent said the same of face coverings.
Share of people who have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine
Last month, Bank of America reportedly invited UK workers back to their desks as long as they had received at least one jab. The firm later insisted staff had been invited to “volunteer” their vaccination status, and insisted it was not a requirement.
Legal experts have warned that businesses who do enforce vaccine passports will likely face a slew of lawsuits on equality grounds.
“It appears to be a straight breach and we cannot see how we could do this legally, as much as we might like to,” one senior industry source told The Telegraph.
Vaccine passports in large venues
It comes after Boris Johnson announced that nightclubs and other large venues must demand vaccination status as a condition of entry from September, when all over-18s will have been offered a jab.
Last week, a press release from DHSC appeared to indicate that they could also be used to help people return to offices. It stated: “As many as 10.4 million people have now signed up to the NHS App, with over six million new users since the Covid-19 vaccination status service was added on 17 May.
“The app’s Covid-19 vaccine status service allows users easily to show their proof of vaccine, which will help people to travel abroad, start returning to workplaces and attend large-scale events as we cautiously proceed with the roadmap.”
The Department for Health insisted there had been no change in policy and there were no plans to actively encourage workplaces such as offices to use Covid passport.
It comes as Nadim Zahawi, the Vaccines Minister, announced that 70 per cent of adults are now fully vaccinated and that 88 per cent have had one dose.