Key tips for your workplace vaccination policy and procedure
With vaccinations for Covid-19 becoming available, what’s going to be your agency position on it? Do you even need a position?
Important questions, particularly, if you’re a social and health service providing direct care services.
If you think you need an agency position on Covid-19 vaccinations, then it’s time to get cracking on your policy and procedure.
The big issues
There are some important considerations for your policy and procedure including:
- your health and safety duties as an employer or worker
- that a person can’t generally be compelled to have medical treatment
- the right to give informed consent
- likely consequences of exposure given the characteristics of staff in the role
- it is unlawful to discriminate against a person based on disability or health status subject to limited exceptions.
Nuts and bolts
At the Policy Place, we work with social, health, and education agencies to provide online policies and procedures and bespoke policies. We can help you with your vaccination and other policies.
But if you’re into DIY, here are some key questions to think about when developing your policy and procedure on Covid 19 vaccinations for your existing workforce.
Are there any roles for which vaccination is necessary?
In other words, are there roles that, if not vaccinated, would place staff, clients, and others at unacceptable risk? Some things to think about are:
- the extent of exposure to Covid-19 in the role
- the vulnerability of persons you are dealing with
- whether other measures can be implemented to deal with risks (eg masks, physical distancing)
- what difference community context might make eg high rates of community transmission versus lower rates and how your policy and procedure should respond.
What provision should be made for staff who, because of a pre-existing health condition, can’t get vaccinated?
Staff in this position are likely to have some good ideas. These could include:
- taking extra precautions for them to remain with their current duties?
- altering their duties to reduce risk of exposure
- moving the staff to roles less exposed to risk.
What should be the response for staff vulnerable to severe symptoms of Covid 19?
The health and safety duty for an employing agency requires reasonable steps to prevent harm. If staff have known conditions (including family members who are vulnerable) then reasonable steps must be responsive to the relevant condition.
Participation and input from the affected staff about their needs and measures to keep them safe until vaccination will be an important part of your policy and procedure.
If you’ve already had vulnerable staff, then you’ve got the benefit of hindsight. Your policy and procedure can provide for current measures to continue or, can address what hasn’t worked. It may be necessary to provide temporary measures like opportunities for remote work and extra safety measures for the staff concerned.
How can you encourage and support staff to get vaccinated?
If you’re a health or social service providing direct services, your policy and procedure can encourage staff to receive vaccinations with measures like:
- time off to receive the vaccination
- arrangements to access information about the vaccination from independent and trusted sources
- information about the consequences of choosing not to be vaccinated on their role/duties.
So if vaccination is going to important in your workplace, it’s time to get started on your policy and procedure.