GUIDELINES PUBLISHED ON MANDATORY VACCINATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE
The government has not made (COVID-19) vaccinations mandatory; however, guidelines were Gazetted last week in the event that an employer decides to make vaccinations mandatory.
It outlines what is required for fairness in your own mandatory vaccination policy.
- Can employees be forced to take the vaccination?
- Can you make vaccination mandatory?
Yes. These recently published guidelines need to be taken into account. The guidelines are intended to make sure your own mandatory vaccination policy is fair.
- Do you have to have a mandatory vaccination policy?
No. If you intend to enforce mandatory vaccination, then you would need such a policy.
- What do you do with employees who refuse or cannot take the vaccination?
Accommodate them. It could mean working from home, isolating in an office, working after hours. If they have to come into contact with employees, they should wear an N95 mask (medical Grade Respirator Face Mask).
- What if the employees cannot be accommodated?
If they are not showing symptoms they continue to work, with the usual precautions, but try to accommodate them as much as possible.
- What if the measures are not reasonably practicable?
Do not enforce them, but still abide by the (COVID-19) precautions.
- Can you instruct your employees to be vaccinated?
No. You must tell them of their obligation to be vaccinated.
- Must you tell your employees that they can refuse to take the vaccine?
- Who can the employee consult with about whether they want to take the vaccine or not?
A health and safety representative, worker representative, or union official.
- Must the employer take the employee to be vaccinated?
Yes, if reasonably practicable.
- What happens if an employee reacts negatively to the vaccine?
It forms part of sick leave.
- What if the employee has no sick leave?
Claim from Workman’s Compensation Fund.
- What should an employer do if there is a negative side effect?
The employee must be referred for further examination.
- What do I do if an employee refuses to be vaccinated?
Counsel them and allow the employee to seek guidance from a health and safety representative, worker representative or trade union official.
- Treating non-vaccinated employees differently.
There can be no differentiation between vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees, other than the (COVID-19) measures and reasonable accommodation.
- Can I refuse to employ somebody who has not been vaccinated?
- Can I refuse to allow an unvaccinated employee at work?
- Can I refuse to allow an employee who refuses to be vaccinated at work?
- Must I justify mandatory vaccination?
Yes, it must be a justifiable operational requirement.
- Will the state be forcing vaccination?
The guidelines emphasize that employers and employees must treat each other with mutual respect, with a premium placed on public health imperatives, constitutional rights of employees, and efficient operation of your business.