Govt providing business the tools to vaccinate workforces

The Government is building on measures to protect businesses and workers as the country gets ready to transition to the traffic light system from 3 December.

Some workers need to have their first vaccine by Friday 3 December

Vaccine requirements in the workplace are a common tool many countries around the world are using to stop the spread of COVID and to protect their workers and customers from the virus.

Workers covered by the My Vaccine Pass mandate need to have their first dose by 3 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2022.

This requirement to be vaccinated applies to hospitality, events, gatherings, close contact businesses and gyms. Workers will need to be vaccinated to continue working in these areas.

For anyone who is not yet vaccinated, especially workers in areas where My Vaccine Passes can be applied, there are 10 days left to get your first dose. It is free, safe and the most effective way to keep you, your whānau, business and customers safe. It’s a simple contribution to keeping all New Zealanders safe from COVID-19. 

Tool to help clarify what work should be done by vaccinated people

We’ve developed a simplified tool to help clarify what work should be covered by vaccinated workers. It will help you assess when it is reasonable to require vaccination for other work.

This tool will be available from mid-December 2021.

This tool provides a clear, legal framework to help businesses make decisions about vaccinations in the workplace. It builds on the guidance provided by WorkSafe and has had input from BusinessNZ and the CTU. The tool will specify 4 key factors, at least 3 of which must be met, before it would be reasonable to require vaccination for particular work.

This new process won’t override risk assessments that businesses have already done under the existing health and safety guidelines. Businesses can choose which one they use, and any assessments done to date remain valid.

Legislation to be passed this week

We understand that businesses and workers need certainty. Legislation allowing the vaccination assessment tool to be created, as well as introducing four weeks’ paid notice of termination and paid time off to get vaccinated, will be passed under urgency this week. This legislation will come into effect the day after it is passed. The assessment tool will then be available for businesses to use once regulations are made in mid-December under the amended law.

Why staff in some workplaces need to be vaccinated

It’s common sense to ensure staff in workplaces that are either required to or can use the My Vaccine Pass are vaccinated. This is regardless of whether the business chooses to require My Vaccine Passes from customers or attendees. It gives confidence to the customers who are vaccinated and means the business will be less likely to be affected by cases.

We have tested this requirement with stakeholders, and it has received broad support, including from religious communities. Everyone wants to keep their staff, customers and congregations safe.

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