Even with the mandating of the COVID vaccination for many organisations, employers still need to follow a process before deciding to terminate employment. An employer’s good faith obligations remain.
As we come to accept COVID-19 is a reality in our communities and hard lock downs will no longer be the government response, businesses will need to consider what steps they will take to meet their health and safety obligations and protect their businesses. Our entire team is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and this gives us an excellent starting point, and we will be limiting our exposure to people who are not vaccinated.
The basis of your decision making is your risk assessments – not only health and safety, but also risks to your business. For us we have decided that once COVID-19 is in the community we are operating in, then we will only have face to face meetings with fully vaccinated (plus 2 weeks) people, and anyone coming to our offices or training room must also be fully vaccinated. We will continue to provide services via Zoom/Teams for people who are not vaccinated. Our decision is based on a number of factors. There are the obvious health and safety aspects. The overarching consideration when looking at how to manage the risk is the requirement in the Health and Safety at Work Act “to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable”. We believe this is an entirely reasonably practical step. For some organisations this might not be the case.
There are other practical concerns. If a COVID positive person comes to our office or training room, we will have to bear the cost of a deep clean and the subsequent loss of revenue and inconvenience of not being able use our spaces until this is done. I anticipate the services of cleaning companies at that time will be in high demand and the wait could be long.
We have also factored in the down time for our team if they are a close contact of a person with COVID. At this point close contacts are required to isolate for 14 days. That is 14 days where they will be unable to fully undertake their role, and their personal lives and activities (and those of their household members) will be significantly impacted. These are consequences I am just not willing to risk for my team.
As such, once COVID is near us, we will be asking for proof of vaccination if a face to face meeting is requested and for anyone attending our training. We appreciate everyone’s understanding as organisations make their own decisions on what is right for them.