Make vaccine passports mandatory in the workplace
6 October, 2021
The EMA is asking for the mandatory carrying of digital vaccine passports to enter the workplace, with digital exemptions and extra precautions applying to those who can’t or choose not to be vaccinated.
Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says carrying the passport - currently being investigated by Government - will give employers and employees the certainty and the safety they want in their workplace and will give an incentive to those hesitant about getting vaccinated.
"The majority of New Zealanders are getting vaccinated, and we know some employers were already using a no jab, no entry policy to protect their workplaces prior to this latest outbreak," says Mr O’Riley.
"Under health and safety legislation employers have to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers and carrying vaccine passports is one way to do this.
"You’ll need a vaccine passport at work and if you are visiting a workplace, retail or service outlet or a bar or restaurant you’ll also need a passport to enter.
"Those that can’t be vaccinated for medical, religious or other reasons will have to apply for and carry a digital exemption and may have to wear masks and/or register for track and tracing - current policy at Level 3 - to be allowed in. The unvaccinated may have to take some responsibility for the circumstances or decisions they face while the extra precautions would help employers manage a potential mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated staff."
The EMA is not asking for compulsory vaccination in the workplace.
"The Government has made it very clear that’s a step too far under various legislated rights for our citizens, but it has also failed to step up with any direction or guidance for businesses trying to manage and create vaccination policies in the workplace.
"The current risk-based approach recommended by the Minister and MBIE is a recipe for court cases, costs and delays while jurisprudence is sorted. The last thing businesses need now is more uncertainty."
Mr O’Riley said carrying the passport would encourage hesitant workers to get vaccinated or face extra safety measures.
"Many of our members draw their workforces from communities that have proved hard to reach in the current vaccination programme and this would be another way of reaching into those communities.
"We’d also like to see changes made at the border to incentivise vaccination as well. If the border is to remain in place long-term - as indicated by Dr Bloomfield - then allow the fully vaccinated to travel through the border with proof of a negative test.