These are all real-life examples of questions we have been asked (some details changed to prevent identification). What would you do?
There have been dozens of questions about the intricacies of terminating the employment of an unvaccinated worker. Here are some answers to commonly (and not so commonly) asked questions.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO - IF ASKED THE FOLLOWING?
Either four weeks’ notice or the notice period in their Employment Agreement whichever is the greater. The requirement for a minimum of four weeks’ notice is only for the reason that the employee’s employment is being terminated because they are unvaccinated.
Yes, the government’s new legislation states that it must be paid.
If they have paid sick leave owing, pay them sick leave until it runs out, then pay them as normal for the remainder of the notice period. We have had instances of clients’ employees believing the four weeks’ notice does not start until after the sick certificate has expired. This is not the case.
They get to keep their job and return to work, unless it will unreasonably disrupt the business, such as you have already employed a replacement employee.
We would not advise it. The legislation is not clear on this, however the requirement to withdraw the notice if the employee gets vaccinated would strongly suggest payment in lieu of notice is not an option.
No, the cost is to be met by the employer.
This isn’t specifically addressed in the legislation. We suggest it isn’t possible unless annual leave was already agreed prior to the giving of the notice. The legislation states specifically that the employee is entitled to “4 weeks’ paid written notice” (or the notice in their Employment Agreement if that is longer).
Yes. The legislation states they must be given 4 weeks’ paid notice.