Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Department of Labour has issued Directives (Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces), giving guidance on the measures that companies need to take to ensure that their workplaces are as safe as possible and to prevent the transmission of the virus.
On 11 June 2021, a new Directive was published which still requires that all companies with more than 50 employees will have to comply with administrative duties and report to the National Institute for Occupational Health each Tuesday, but which also provides some guidelines with regard to Vaccinations.
What Is New
- Undertake a risk assessment within 21 days of the new Directions being published to determine whether they are going to make vaccinations mandatory.
- Outline the measure it intends taking in respect of the vaccination of its employees.
- In developing the plan to take into account the right of employees to bodily integrity in terms of the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion in section 13 of the Constitution.
- Companies have previously had to undertake a risk assessment and to develop a workplace plan to implement the safe return of employees to the workplace. This plan must now include a dispute process to manage the process where there are employees who refuse to return to work because of fears of infection.
- Provide employees with the nature of vaccines used, the benefits of the vaccines and the contra-indications.
- Assist employees to register on the Electronic Vaccine Data System Registration Portal.
- Give employees paid time off to be vaccinated.
- Give vaccinated employees who suffer side effects which prevent them from coming to work paid sick leave.
The Direction provides guidelines if an employer intends to make vaccinations mandatory.
The new combined directions and original directions are below. For ease of reference, we have colour coded the new amendment in green.