Law change will give some unvaxxed staff four weeks to get jabbed or get out

Press release (abridged)

The Government is mandating vaccination for workers at businesses where customers need to show COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates.

“The timing of this coming into force will depend on when we move to the COVID-19 Protection Framework,” says workplace relations and safety minister Michael Wood.

“We’re working with the CTU and BusinessNZ to make sure we will have robust guidance for businesses ready well in advance.

…we will introduce a risk assessment process in law for employers to follow…

“A number of businesses have already gone through a risk assessment process to mandate vaccinations at their workplace, but we’ve had calls from both businesses and unions to make this process as clear as possible. That’s why we will introduce a risk assessment process in law for employers to follow when deciding whether they can require vaccination for different types of work.

“We know that these changes raise questions around what happens when mandated employees refuse to get vaccinated. To provide clarity, a new four-week notice period will apply if their employment is terminated if they choose not to be vaccinated and their work requires it.

“Our law change will require a minimum of four weeks’ paid notice for any employee who loses their job because they are not vaccinated.

Employers will also be required to keep records about workers’ vaccination status…

“This change will only apply to employees who do not have a notice period, or whose notice periods are shorter than four weeks. Most employees will have notice periods in their employment agreement.

“Employers will also be required to keep records about workers’ vaccination status. MBIE will work with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to provide practical guidance on how to ensure workers’ records are handled appropriately.

“We understand the urgency and we expect these changes to be in place to align with the COVID-19 Protection Framework coming into force.                 

“We will pass this legislation as a priority to give workplaces the certainty they need, because vaccination is one of the best tools to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.”