2021-06-15

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? No.

- 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 enforcing mandatory vaccination, then you would need such a policy.

- What do you do with employees who refuse/can’t take the vaccination? Accommodate them. It could mean working from home, isolating in an office, working after hours, etc. If they have to come into contact with employees they should wear a N95 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? Don’t do 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? Yes.

- Who can the employee consult with about whether or not they want to take the vaccine? A health and safety representative, worker representative or union official.

- Must the employer take the employee to be vaccinated? Yes, if is 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 Comp.

- 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? No.

- Can I refuse to allow an unvaccinated employee at work? No.

- Can I refuse to allow an employee who refuses to be vaccinated at work? No.

- Must I justify mandatory vaccination? Yes, it must be a justifiable operational requirement.

- Will the state be forcing vaccination? No

The guidelines emphasis 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.

Mark - 12:37 @ common, Industrial Relations, Human Resources, B-BBEE | Add a comment

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