Mandatory vaccination policies and procedures

It’s all on with mandatory vaccination for social, health, education and prison staff in Aotearoa.

Employing agencies need to move quickly on their vaccination policy and procedure.

The Mandate

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order (No 3) 2021 has commenced. It provides for mandatory vaccination of certain roles in health, disability, education, and prison services (“mandated roles”).

At the Policy Place, we’ve been busy updating our policies and procedures for our members, because the pressure is on for services that have staff in mandated roles.  The legislation sets a fast pace.

Staff in mandated roles in health, disability and education services must receive their first vaccination by 15 November 2021. Staff involved with prisons must receive their first vaccination by 6 November 2021.

In this post, we outline some key responsibilities for employers and staff affected by the new Public Health order.

Management responsibilities

In the new regime, management’s responsibilities will include to:

  • Notify staff in writing that their roles are affected by legal requirements. Staff should be told of legal timeframes, consequence of non-compliance and how they may prove vaccination within the timeframes.
  • Actively protect rights of tangata whenua and address barriers to vaccination for Māori and Pasifika
  • Enable staff (especially those in mandated roles) to be vaccinated in work hours
  • Proactively and in good faith engage with staff about any issues or concerns about vaccination
  • Being prepared to stand-down staff who are unable to provide written confirmation of vaccination by required dates (eg 15 November for education, health and disability service workers; 6 November for prison staff)
  • Set up a system for recording vaccination information from staff (eg contact details, dates of vaccination, exemption from vaccination).

Staff/kaimahi responsibilities

Key responsibilities of staff will include to:

  • Get vaccinated within the legal timeframes
  • Be informed (by reliable means) about vaccination and the legal requirement
  • Engage in good faith with management about any concerns or issues with vaccination (eg if dispute they are in a mandated role)
  • Provide management with written proof of vaccination (by registering on My Covid Record and providing a screen-shot or printout of the result)
  • If relevant, obtain an exemption from a GP or other suitable health practitioner and provide written confirmation.

What if vaccination is not legally prescribed?

Check out our previous posts on risk assessing roles to decide if vaccination should be required.

Just because a role is not required by law at this stage to be vaccinated, does not prevent an employer from requiring vaccination where they assess high risk.

Every organisation will need to demonstrate due diligence in managing the health and safety of Covid-19 in the workplace and use of vaccination to mitigate risk.

It’s likely to be an ongoing process.

Given the nature of community transmission, risks are likely to change and so are decisions about the necessity of vaccination.

Contact us at the Policy Place if you need a hand with your vaccination policy and procedure.