Workers must be vaccinated in businesses that will require vaccine certificates to enter

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Employees in workplaces that will require a vaccine certificate for customers to enter under the new traffic light Covid system will also need to be vaccinated, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. 

"If customers must be vaccinated, then so too must the workers," Ardern said. "We want customers safe, and workers safe too."

Ardern said businesses wanted a clear legal framework on the issues of vaccines and mandates.

"Vaccinations will be mandated for everyone who works in any workplace where a vaccine certificate is required for entry," she said.

"With the new traffic light system, businesses we previously treated as high risk like hospitality hairdressers and gyms can operate at all levels if they ask customers for a vaccine certificate."

This new framework will kick in once DHBs reach 90 per cent fully vaccinated population, Auckland can move into the system once its three DHBs reach 90 per cent. The requirement of a vaccine certificate would be optional for many locations and won't apply to some essential services, however it will be required in some settings such as large scale events. 

The Associate Health Minister says the money will help fast-track Covid-19 vaccination efforts and prepare Māori communities for the new protection framework.

Health, disability and education workers are already mandated to be vaccinated and are required to have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine by November 15 and be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022. 

"Prison facilities are also included and the first deadline for those workers is November 6," Hipkins said on Saturday.

"The order applies to prison staff, health care staff working in prisons, psychologists (working in prisons), and many of the people contracted to provide services to prisons."

The sectors join MIQ, border and port workers who must be vaccinated. 

The Government is also introducing a new risk assessment process to help employers decide if they can require vaccination for different types of work.

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood said it would give businesses simplified legal framework to help them make decisions about requiring staff to be vaccinated or not.

“We know that these changes raise questions around what happens when mandated employees refuse to get vaccinated," Wood said.

"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."

He said the law change would mean a person who do not have a notice period, or whose notice periods are shorter than four weeks, would get a minimum of four weeks' paid notice.