How your policy and procedure can bridge the vaccination divide


Covid-19 vaccination is going to be the light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel. In Aotearoa/New Zealand we now have a guide about when we are likely to enter the light.

But is it the light? As vaccinations start to roll out, there’s more public debate about the consequences of not getting vaccinated.

Big issues to resolve

Are we now going to be divided by regulations for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people? What about the ethical and social issues involved?

It’s not looking pretty if we’re facing a future of sanctioned “haves” and “have nots”.  Yet, a future with more illness and deaths from Covid-19 and the consequent need for more controls and restrictions in the workplace and other areas looks equally dire.

There’s a lot of issues to resolve. Public discussion about social and legal regulation associated with Covid-19 vaccinations is likely to therefore continue for some time.

Workplace issues

Meantime, it’s important that NZ workplaces continue to use pandemic controls. Social distancing and hygiene practices should be adhered to regardless of vaccination status.

It’s also important that workplaces involved in frontline delivery of health and social services get their policies and procedures on vaccination sorted. Last time, we posted some suggestions for what should be covered in your workplace vaccination policy and procedure.

Today, given the prospect of social divides around vaccination, we suggest that another big challenge for your policy and procedure is to address the risks of division and acrimony in the workplace around vaccinations.


Our 3 tips for your workplace vaccination policy are to:

  • take a risk-based approach so that any requirements for vaccination will be justified by reference to likely health effects
  • support kaimahi/staff to make their decisions on an informed basis
  • communicate with kaimahi/staff from beginning to end about the policy. Be open to feedback and to the possibility of making adjustments and changes as you go along.

There’s enough division in the world already. Workplaces have often been a microcosm of social divides. We need to learn from past mistakes, not repeat them.

So be deliberative with your workplace policy. Yes, prioritise the safety of staff and clients. But don’t forget how important our relationships, social cohesion, and respect for rights are.

Have fun

It’s always a challenge to get the balance right with policies and procedures. But that’s the fun factor of doing policy work for us at the Policy Place (yes we are policy geeks.)

If policy isn’t your thing but you need your workplace vaccination policy done or need all your policies and procedures reviewed and updated, contact us. Choose to be free to focus on what you do best and love and to let us do your policies and procedures.

9 policy and procedure areas to cover off for COVID- 19

Good policies and procedures can help you steer the course  – keep you on track with your compliance and guard against panicked decision making in a time of emergency.

Are all policies and procedures equally important in a time of emergency?

Not all. Here’s what we prioritise.


Policies and procedures addressing compliance with regulations and standards.  These are the “must dos”.  They can help you decide what and how you might pare back to save money and if need be, make changes to how you operate.

Pandemic policy/plan

An obvious policy.

As indicated by the recent resurgence of COVID-19 in Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland, the plan needs to be robust enough to support flexible and quick responses to changing Alert levels.  If your plan is based on a linear trajectory, it should be updated accordingly.

While you’re at it, check that your plan is consistent with the legislated requirements for contact tracing, restrictions on movements and physical distancing.

Staff at risk of infection 

The situation of staff in this circumstance can be part of a pandemic or leave policy or because of its high-interest value, as a separate policy.  The status of and responses to staff in the following circumstances should be clarified:

  • staff exposed to infection through an event or personal contact (ie where increased risk)
  • staff concerned about risk (but no indications of exposure)
  • staff who may be especially vulnerable to infection because of a pre-existing condition, age etc
  • staff are quarantined/required to self-isolate (may differentiate cases where it was forseeable/not forseeable)
  • staff returning from international travel
  • community lock-down.

Leave policy

Employees’ minimum leave entitlements are addressed in legislation. Organisations will have their own policy and procedure where leave is above the minimum and to outline how leave should be applied for etc.

Leave entitlements are especially important for staff when jobs start looking uncertain. It will also be pressing for staff at risk of infection, staff who become sick and those caring for dependents.

Your leave policy should address the application process for annual leave, sick leave, dependent/caregiver leave (may be added to or part of sick leave) and access to other leave – eg paid special leave; unpaid leave.

Flexible working policy

This policy should cover the relevant legal requirements eg that arrangements are requested and responded to, when formality might be waived and reasons why a request might be declined. It should cover options such as staff working on flexible schedules and in remote locations; recording variations to employment terms, clocking in and out, shared calendars and monitoring and review of arrangements.

Working from home policy

Working from home is a form of remote working. It could be part of your flexible working policy. However, its become a dominant way of working while in the pandemic so we think it warrants specific attention as a policy.

Your policy should cover expectations for how and when work is to be achieved, connection with the mothership (ie workplace and other colleagues), workplace hui; shared calendar and time recording; health and safety; roles and responsibilities.  See here for help.

IT, privacy & communications policy

Most organisations will have policies about what’s acceptable/unacceptable use of email, online systems, software and social media.  If staff are moving to remote working, it’s important that these policies cover roles and responsibilities, (eg for hardware, authorisations, arranging staff logins), safeguards for the transfer,  use and recording of organisational and personal information and log in/access to online organisational resources including client management system and policies and procedures.

Diversity and inclusion

This may seem a surprising “must have” for Covid 19. It reflects the law (eg Human Rights Act; health and disability and social sector accreditation standards.)

We’ve included it here to counter the risks of xenophobia and exclusion. There have been instances of racist attacks related to Covid-19 and more recently, animosity towards returning citizens and residents.  Yes, we’re concerned about health and safety. But this can not be at the expense of equality.

We all benefit from inclusive and welcoming work cultures where staff and others who may be infectious are supported and disinformation about the virus is rejected.


If you’re a funded social or health service you’re required to have a delegations policy. At least, you should be able to evidence clear parameters around management versus governance functions and powers.

With Covid 19, it may be a good idea to think more extensively about delegations. For business continuity purposes, delegations should be in place and enable sufficient cover for when usual decision-makers are absent or become ill.

Ways you can address these areas

For those who’ve got it all covered, make sure your staff are aware of the policies. Enable their  24/7 access to your policies, procedures and other systems if they start to work remotely.

If you haven’t got them covered, it’s not too late. You can:

  • amend your related policies to cover off the key areas
  • develop and incorporate new procedures into existing policies
  • contact us for help so it’s one less worry and there’s less stress.

For those into DIY, check out some of our other posts and these resources for help with drafting your policies:

Your single source of truth for remote working

There’s a revolution coming. It’s called remote work and it looks set to become the new norm for work. 

During the pandemic lockdown many of us have been forced into remote working. We may have been kicking and screaming about it at the start, but predictions are that many of us will stick with it even after the pandemic is over.

But are you ready for it? To really get the most out of remote work, you have to do the groundwork.

Your handbook comes first

Sid Sijbrandij, the CEO and co-founder of GitLab, an all-remote company with over a 1,000 employees across the world, advocates strongly that the organisational handbook is vital to success in working remotely.

Their handbook is the company’s single-source of truth – the bible of the organisation. It includes the company’s mission and values, policies, processes, training and communication tools. It provides staff with 24/7 access to guidance and information they need to do their work whether as managers or employees.  A change must be made to the handbook before any change can be made in the organisation.

It may seem counter-intuitive, shocking even, to managers who are all about action.

But it’s not hard to figure out “the why.” With remote working, you can no longer rely on daily in-person contact with staff to answer questions, check-in on progress, induct new staff and volunteers, provide supervision, monitor and support safety and wellbeing.

You have to have your policies and processes sorted, people tuned in and able to access the organisational mission and values. Otherwise, you leave your staff prevented rather than empowered to do their work and the organisation at risk of chaos.

Start early, prioritise it

The message is clear – the earlier the better to get your handbook/ policies and procedures up and running as your agency’s Single Source of Truth.

The Policy Place can help you bring all your documents together in one online source that’s accessible to staff any time anywhere. It should include all your “must-dos,” address your compliance needs and include user-friendly guidance about processes (eg onboarding new staff, information management, supervision, feedback and complaints) and your communication tools.

It doesn’t have to be perfect

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Your policies and procedures/ handbook should be living and iterative documents. They will change as and when required eg when a regulatory requirement changes; when your team want to substitute a more efficient process for an existing one.

Through scheduled monthly reviews, the Policy Place keeps your policies and procedures updated. We also review and update if things change meantime as occurred with the pandemic. The job is never-ending and nor should it be, when it comes to your organisational bible.


Contact us NOW