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For businesses, the past 18 months have been challenging times, and it has been difficult enough to keep your head above water. Now business owners and managers are required to deal with the directions and expectations enforced by our government to make sure that your staff, contractors and the community are fully vaccinated in the workplace. It feels like the baton has been handed over, where it is now the business owners responsibility to discuss with their team why everyone needs to be fully vaccinated to comply with the direction made by the government.  

Business owners have been instructed and given a timeline to sort through the vaccination requirements for their workplace whilst trying to keep their business alive.  We all want a healthy and safe working environment. We understand the additional pressure this puts on your business, especially if you have staff refusing to get vaccinated.  If this is the case, then businesses are going to be faced with challenging conversations with staff. 

At KBA, we want to assure you that we are here to support those business owners who would like our help and guidance on how to deal with these situations to try and reduce the emotion, stress, and anxiety that comes with having difficult conversations. 

Below are some of our recommendations to assist businesses with the mandatory vaccination direction:

  1. Be open and honest about your company’s responsibility under the Workplace Health and Safety Laws and Government directives that your company needs to comply with over mandatory vaccines.
  2. Communication is key. Explain to your staff that your company needs to comply with this direction, and there are expectations around vaccination requirements. Consult with your staff and work through any concerns.
  3. We recommend that you have a Covid-19 Vaccination Policy that outlines the expectation for your staff and contractors to review. This will assist with conversations should you need to justify with some staff members.
  4. Encourage your staff to come to you or their manager. Depending on the uncertainty of your team, appoint someone within your business or an external HR Consultant to talk with the staff that have some concerns.
  5. Explain that, as part of the requirements and directives, you are required to see and keep records of their vaccinations which will be strictly confidential and held in their employee file. 
  6. If there are exemptions, there is a process to provide evidence, to be completed by a qualified medical practitioner, and the completion of a Medical Contraindication Form.
  7. Explain the Assessment of Vaccination Requirements to your staff and that you will work through the government requirements to try to accommodate people’s needs.

One or two staff creating serious disruptions in your business because they are not in favour of getting the vaccine is the last thing you need. If you do have employees that refuse to be vaccinated, don’t be confrontational. That sets you up for a fight where they threaten you or the company or take legal action. It is best to:

  • Make sure you deal with this as a separate issue, one by one, so you don’t have a team rallying against you.
  • Keep your cool, sit them down individually, go through the requirements set upon your business, and try to come to an agreement. 

A great tip in resolving this situation is that you ask your staff member to go and discuss their vaccination concerns with their doctor, not Dr Google, and then come back to you for another discussion. 

Staff working remotely is a fantastic solution whilst we work through getting through this pandemic as a nation. If there is a situation where this is not possible, make sure that you have exhausted all available options. Consider allowing your staff member time off utilising paid leave, annual leave or long service leave. Or offer leave without pay for a period of time while they process their decision. Do everything you can before you go down the path of disciplinary action for breaching your policy, including termination of their employment.

At KBA, we have seen some issues and fallouts from long-term staff due to this mandate from our government. Business is about working together as a team whilst doing meaningful work to service your customers. The way you handle this expected roll-out of policy in your company will determine the effectiveness and efficiency in getting back to business. This is a stressful problem with very little financial or mental health support to the business owner. Whilst it may be a challenging situation, KBA can help support you through this to get a good resolution.

 

If you need help, then contact us immediately to speak to one of our HR Consultants. We can support your company with a tailored policy whilst guiding you through the process and even be a part of what’s needed to support your company during this difficult situation.  

*****Watch our latest Webinar facilitated with an expert lawyer discussing this hot topic further, ‘Employer Rights and Obligations – Covid-19 Vaccinations’

At KBA, we have a vast number of downloadable information from our company website: www.keyba.com.au At KBA, we are a team that is very passionate about taking businesses from good to great. If you need help to grow your company or look at ways to motivate and better manage your staff, please contact us today as we are here to help!

Key Business Advisors is equipped with well-trained, experienced HR professionals that can help you with all of your questions. 

KBA offers free webinars, online training, and useful information.  

Download the following:  

If you would like help or want to know more about our services, please contact Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE

About The Author

Colin Wilson

Director and founder, Colin Wilson drives Key Business Advisors with determination, passion, and motivation.

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