McCann FitzGerald survey finds employers want access to employees’ vaccine status

McCann FitzGerald survey finds employers want access to employees' vaccine status

Pictured (L-R): Amy Brick, senior associate at McCann FitzGerald; Liam McKenna, partner at Mazars; and Paul Lavery, partner at McCann FitzGerald

Nearly two-thirds of Irish employers believe they should have access to the vaccine status of their employees, a new survey by McCann FitzGerald LLP and Mazars has found.

A majority (56 per cent) of organisations responding to the annual GDPR survey said the inability to process employees’ vaccine status had impacted on their plans to return to the office.

The vast majority of organisations surveyed were either currently operating a hybrid model of working, sharing time between home and the office (62 per cent), or are considering operating a hybrid model in the future (33 per cent), with just one-in-twenty (five per cent) saying that such a move is not being considered.

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) have increased their cyber security to protect those working from remotely to enhance the protection of their data.

The results of this year’s survey also point towards a declining level of positivity towards the GDPR and its benefits by many organisations, McCann FitzGerald and Mazars said.

Belief that the GDPR is beneficial for individuals has declined by 14 points year-on-year (83 per cent to 69 per cent); belief that compliance with the GDPR places an excessive administrative burden on organisations has grown by 16 points (53 per cent to 69 per cent); and belief that compliance with the GDPR will be beneficial for organisations’ relations with their employees, customers and other stakeholders in the long term has fallen by five points (76 per cent to 71 per cent).

Meanwhile, anxiety about liability for non-compliance with the GDPR is on the rise. Some 57 per cent of surveyed organisations expressed concerns about fines for GDPR non-compliance, up from 46 per cent in the previous year.

Over three-quarters (78 per cent) agreed that the risks associated with GDPR non-compliance are increasing, while almost seven-in-ten (70 per cent) said they were now more concerned about GDPR non-compliance than they had been in May 2018, when the regulation was introduced. Furthermore, more than two-fifths (43 per cent) said that they are concerned about civil actions from data subjects.

Respondents, a majority of whom were employed in organisations of more than 250 employees in Ireland, span the financial services, public, technology, and other sectors.

Paul Lavery, partner and head of technology and innovation at McCann FitzGerald, said: “This year’s survey shows a decided shift in views towards the GDPR. In recent years, a gradual trend towards increasing comfort with the GDPR, and an appreciation of its benefits to individuals and organisation could be observed, however much of this positive outlook has slid backwards in this year’s figures.

“We can only speculate on the exact reasons for this cooling of sentiment, but a growing view that the application of the regulation to areas such as employee vaccine status or the international transfer of data, have not been in the interest of businesses, might be contributing to this perspective.”

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