Huge number of workplaces sack unvaccinated employees due to strict mandates
The staggeringly high number of workplaces who have been forced to sack unvaccinated employees has been revealed, with one in three Australian employers hit by strict mandates brought on by state governments.
A new study from the Australian HR Institute discovered almost a third of Australian employers, forced to comply with vaccine mandates, had sacked unvaccinated workers.
The survey showed 85 per cent of employees in workplaces with vaccine mandates supported them and only 6 per cent felt negatively towards them.
“It has been difficult for the employees of course affected and also for the HR teams who’ve had to actually do that,” AHRI chief executive Sarah McCann-Bartlett told 3aw.
“But we have to go back to the initial premise of it, which is workplace health and safety and keeping your employees safe.”
The survey of 760 human resources professionals was carried out in November and showed three-fifths of Australian organisations had made vaccination compulsory for at least some of their workers.
The results also found three in five workplaces said Covid-19 vaccination status would affect their hiring decisions immensely.
While there is concern the issue of vaccination had caused a culture split in workplaces, Ms McCann-Bartlett said most workplaces were supportive of the mandates.
The survey found 85 per cent of employees responded positively to mandatory vaccination, while that figure rose to 93 per cent in Victoria.
“A quarter of Australian businesses feel that the vaccine conversation has caused a bit of a culture split or friction between employees, but in Victoria that number is a bit low, it’s 17 per cent,” Ms McCann said.
“And I think that reflects what Victorians have been through and what they don’t want to go through again in the future.”
Discussion about vaccine mandates has heated up in recent weeks amid reports of retail assistants being abused and businesses threatened and vandalised for refusing service.
While the Victorian government originally planned to keep the mandates well into 2022, they could, in fact, be scrapped within weeks.
Officials are actively considering scrapping the mandates in all but high-risk settings as early as January.
The Premier last week said he hoped to remove the mandates “as quickly as we can”.
“But they’re based on health advice and we will continue to follow health advice,” he said.
“We want to get back to the settings as they had been foreshadowed and the changes that had been foreshadowed as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, almost half of local businesses were still deciding what they would do with unvaccinated employees, according to the new data.
One in five workplaces have created remote-only roles to accommodate unvaccinated staff and 8 per cent have stood down those without vaccination or put them on leave.
Ms McCann-Bartlett said the scrapping of mandates would be an issue for public health teams.
“That would be a medical and political decision for each state to make,” she said.
“We need to go back to the reasons for mandating. This is not a decision that is ever taken lightly.”
Originally published as Huge number of workplaces sack unvaccinated employees due to strict mandates
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