Home South African Government gives employers permission to require proof of Covid-19 vaccination, certificates from...

Government gives employers permission to require proof of Covid-19 vaccination, certificates from staff

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Employment and Labour Department’s new code says employees refusing to be vaccinated must be counselled, be reasonably accommodated in positions that do not require them to be vaccinated

File Picture: Se-Anne Rall

THE government has given employers the green light to require proof of being vaccinated against Covid-19 and produce vaccination certificates from employees unless a worker produces a medical certificate showing that they have contra-indications.

Contra-indications are symptoms or a medical condition that is a reason for a person to not receive a particular treatment or procedure because it may be harmful to them.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on Tuesday published the Code of Good Practice: Managing Exposure to Sars-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in the workplace.

”In giving effect to this code, an employer may require its employees to disclose their vaccination status and to produce a vaccination certificate,” reads the code.

In terms of the code, an employer is allowed to notify an employee of the obligation to be vaccinated and counsel the worker on the issues related to vaccines.

Employers must also permit employees, at their request, to consult a health and safety or worker representative or a trade union official and give administrative support to the employees to register and to access their Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

They can also give employees paid time off to be vaccinated and provide transport for employees to and from the nearest vaccination site.

According to the code, if an employee produces a medical certificate attesting that they have contra-indications for vaccination, the employer may refer the employee for a medical evaluation for confirmation at the employer’s expense.

”If the employer accepts the medical certificate or the employee is referred to medical evaluation and that evaluation confirms that the employee has contra-indications for vaccination, it must accommodate the employee in a position that does not require the employee to be vaccinated,” the code states.

If an employee refuses to be vaccinated, the employer is required to counsel the employee and, if requested, allow the employee to seek guidance from a health and safety or worker representative or trade union official and take steps to reasonably accommodate the employee in a position that does not require the employee to be vaccinated.

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