Like me, I am sure you were stoked and relieved to know that kids are back at daycare today and school tomorrow. Parents in Level 2 regions can now focus without those tiny terrorists undermining their efforts.
Mandatory vaccinations have been a heated topic of conversation recently and I can understand why. The topic is crossing over the areas of personal principles and values, and workplace health and safety. These discussions and any decisions made could have an impact on people’s livelihood at a time when there have been some real hardships.
I have been watching the vaccination discussions in the media and the differing opinions being shared. It started off with the border workers back in March and now we have our first decision from the Employment Relations Authority released in the media today. A border worker has been dismissed for not being vaccinated when it was mandatory for them to do so. I am yet to read the case file on this to find out the nitty gritty details but I would like to take this opportunity to share the key points and a suggested process to follow:
- Consider the health and safety reasons for and against vaccination being mandatory. What are the real risks of exposure and transmission? and who are the people you work with (customers, employees, suppliers etc)?
- Identify the risk management strategies you can put in place. Vaccination is not the only tool in your tool box. What is else can you do considering your answers to step 1.
- Identify the alternative work and options available should someone refuse or be unable to receive the vaccination. Are there alternative roles and work the person can be doing? Also consider this based on alert levels. The risks are lower when we don’t have covid in the community for example. So is a temporary redeployment possible?
- Develop your plan and be sure to seek expert HR and H&S input to test your thinking and to do the reasonable employer test. This plan also needs to include how you intend to store and share peoples personal medical information (i.e. proof of vaccination) in accordance with the privacy act.
- Share your plan and thoughts with your people, and seek out their input. Be open minded and understanding of differing views. This is a sensitive topic in the workplace and we are talking about people’s livelihoods at stake.
Now this is not legal advice. Every business is slightly different. The advice provided above is generalised. For specific advice and help on this matter or any other employment matters please get in contact to talk through your situation.
Lets keep to the DL2 guidelines so lockdown is a thing of the past. Kia kaha everyone.