Work vaccination mandate

Vaccination has been mandated for workers at businesses that must use My Vaccine Passes to operate, or operate with fewer restrictions, at all levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. 

The vaccination mandate applies to hospitality, events, close contact businesses and gyms, and to all workers including employees, contractors, sub-contractors and volunteer workers.

If your business is covered by the work vaccination mandate you are also required to check customers’ proof of vaccination status. You can use the free NZ Pass Verifier app to do so.

Key vaccination requirement dates

To continue doing work in these areas, workers will need to have their first vaccination by Friday 3 December when the new COVID Protection Framework comes into effect. These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2022 to continue doing that work.

Employers should encourage workers to get vaccinated as soon as possible, noting that recent changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 require employers to give employees reasonable paid time off to be vaccinated. 

If an employee intends to be vaccinated, but has not been able to get their first dose, businesses should consider alternatives like a short period of leave. Under recent changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000, employers must consider all alternatives that would preserve an employment relationship before giving notice of termination.

Process for unvaccinated employees

If any workers are not vaccinated by the required dates, employers will need to consider whether there are any alternatives to allow the employee to keep working (for example, rearranging work or duties, or working remotely).

If all alternatives that would preserve the employment relationship have been exhausted, recent changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 require employers to give employees at least four weeks’ paid notice of termination. If an employee has a longer notice period in their employment agreement, the longer period will apply.

Employees can get vaccinated during this four-week period and retain their employment, unless this would unreasonably disrupt the employer’s business.

Read about work covered by the work vaccination mandate at biz.govt.nz | My Vaccine Pass – work vaccination mandate

Read guidance for employees and employers on COVID-19 vaccination requirements in the workplace at Employment New Zealand | Vaccines and the workplace

Verifying My Vaccine Passes

Businesses can choose whether to require customers to have My Vaccine Passes as a condition of entry.  For some businesses, this decision will affect the rules they must operate under.  

Businesses choosing to do so must display posters or signage indicating to customers that entry is contingent on having a My Vaccine Pass. These can be downloaded from the COVID-19 website. Download posters for businesses and organisations.

There is no mandatory obligation on businesses to scan every My Vaccine Pass using a Verifier app. However, businesses who require customers to have My Vaccine Passes as a condition of entry must take reasonable steps to ensure that every person entering the premise aged 12 years and 3 months and older is carrying a valid My Vaccine Pass issued to that person.

Read more about requiring My Vaccine Passes for entry at biz.govt.nz | Requiring Vaccine Passes for entry

NZ Pass Verifier app 

The free NZ Pass Verifier app is available now from the Apple and Google Play app stores for downloading to scan and verify digital or printed My Vaccine Passes. It can be downloaded onto a smart phone or tablet.

Further information on how to download and use the NZ Pass Verifier app is on the Ministry of Health website. This includes information on downloading, use of and technical support for the NZ Pass Verifier.  

Get the Ministry of Health | NZ Pass Verifier app

SOURCE: Ministry of Health

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert