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Covid-19 Vaccination and Employment

Covid-19 Vaccination and Employment

Shelley Yeates
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With Covid-19 vaccinations now starting to roll out, the government has released information on how this will effect employers and employees.  The following applies to all working relationships, including those between a firm and an independent contractor.

  • The government recommends employers encourage and support workers to get vaccinated, this could include:
    • Facilitating on-site vaccinations,
    • Allowing workers to get vaccinated during work hours without the loss of pay,
    • Providing workers with relevant and timely information from the Ministry of Health about the vaccinations.
  • Workers do not have to tell their employer if they have been vaccinated or why they are unable or choose not to be.  
  • Employers cannot share personal information about an employee’s vaccination status without a workers consent.
  • Employers cannot require an individual to be vaccinated. However, employers can require a specific role to be performed by a vaccinated person.  Employers must have first done a health and safety risk assessment to support such a requirement and must do this assessment in collaboration with workers, unions and other representatives.
  • If a particular role does require vaccination, employers can make changes to an employee’s duties for health and safety reasons, if an employee is not vaccinated.  Employers in consultation with employees, must consider options such as changing work arrangements, alternative duties or leave.

Employers and employees can negotiate variations to existing conditions of employment to require vaccination.  Employers can also require vaccination as a condition for new employees, but this must be reasonable for the role.

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