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Vaccination Orders and Exemptions

  • Post category:Labour Laws

As you will be aware from 26 September 2022 the Vaccination Order will be revoked, this will also end the last formal vaccination exemption process available.

What does this mean for you the employee as you move forward. It means that if your employer is continuing with their own vaccination policy, they must have their own internal exemption process.

They will no longer have the option to apply to the Ministry of Health for an exemption, which means your employer will be required to specify what circumstances they will consider for an exemption. It is possible that, this will be the beginning of the end for vaccination policies.

There is likely more risk of discrimination on the basis of the exemption process, rather than any policy itself.  There is a view any exemptions should be granted with a medical certificate (for a medical exemption), or potentially a letter from a church leader (for a religious exemption).

If you are currently employed, and your employer is proposing to continue their vaccination policy, you should begin by asking for information about the exemption process. If you are a job seeker, and you see an advertisement which states you must be vaccinated, you should ask for information about their exemption process. If the workplace is adamant that they do not have an exemption process, it is likely that their policy is inherently discriminatory, and you may want to take a personal grievance or make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

If you’re still employed, you should ask your employer about the risks associated with having unvaccinated employees in the workplace. It needs be specific: What is the risk if one person is unvaccinated? What is the risk if ten people are unvaccinated?  it’s unlikely an employer will be able to justify a vaccination policy that requires 100% compliance.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice, we recommend that if you identify problems in the areas listed you consult with someone before acting on any material you have read