CAN EMPLOYERS INSIST ON
MANDATORY WORKPLACE VACCINATIONS?

The government permits mandatory workplace vaccination policies. On the 11th of June 2021 the Department of Employment and Labour issued an updated Consolidated Directive on Occupational Health and Safety which, among other things entitles an employer to implement a mandatory workplace vaccination policy subject to certain guidelines.

When implementing a mandatory workplace vaccination policy, the Department has cautioned employers to ensure that the rights of employees are taken into account. (i.e: bodily integrity, religious freedoms, and beliefs)

1. Timeline

Within 21 days of the directive coming into force an employer should amend their workplace plan to include the following (3(1) (a) (ii) and (3) (3)):

  •  Their intentions on making vaccinations mandatory.
  •  The category, if employees must vaccinate.
  •  The manner in which adherence will be enforced.
  •  The implementation process of the vaccinations of employees when vaccines become available.
  •  Provide employees with paid time off to be vaccinated, provided employee shows proof of vaccination (4(I)(I)(II))

2. Consultation (3(1) (C) and (D)

In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, an employer must consult with the relevant Trade Unions on the mandatory vaccination policy together with any health and safety committee established.

The policy must also be made available for inspection by trade unions and Health and Safety.

The guidelines are to not supplement or hinder any agreement on the subject.

The guidelines are based on mutual respect and creating a balance between public health essentials, the constitutional rights of employees, and the operation of the employer’s business.

The guidelines are general and broad in essence and variation may be required based on the specific workplace.

Factors to consider when making a vaccination policy are: ✓ Age

✓ Comorbidities
✓ Risk of transmission.
✓ Any collective agreements in place on the subject.

3. Education (4(1)(I) (II)

An employee must raise awareness among employees with regards to, among others, the nature, benefits, and risks associated with vaccines.

The Objectives of the guidelines

  • The guidelines are to not supplement or hinder any agreement on the subject.
  • The guidelines are based on mutual respect and creating a balance between public health essentials, the constitutional rights of employees, and the operation of the employer’s business.
  • The guidelines are general and broad in essence and variation may be required based on the specific workplace.

If you need assistance in your company vaccine policy and the implementation thereof, call Andre Pienaar and Associates.

Tel: 010 443 7829 Website: www.apaa.co.za Email: [email protected]