14 Sep 2021

Steel and Tube offers employees bonus for Covid-19 vaccinations

6:04 pm on 14 September 2021

One of the country's largest steel building product providers is reinforcing its own Covid-19 defences by paying a bonus to workers if they get fully vaccinated.

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Photo: Facebook

Workers will get $150 in cash, KiwiSaver contributions or company shares if they get both doses of the vaccine by mid-November.

Steel and Tube chief executive Mark Malpass told Checkpoint the company believed a full vaccinated workforce would be safer for employees, customers and suppliers.

"We've got a real interest in getting the vaccination rates up as quickly as we can to play our part in accelerating the uptake," Malpass said.

"We'd much rather create an incentive to encourage that uptake ... we felt $150 is a reasonably significant amount and it was enough to encourage people."

The mid-November deadline was chosen because the company felt it was a reasonable timeframe to give people to get a chance to get fully vaccinated.

Steel and Tube wanted to get back to normal business as soon as it could, and in addition help ensure those who were vulnerable were kept safe and make sure the health system was not overwhelmed.

The company had about 850 full-time equivalent staff, Malpass said.

It was not currently recording vaccination rates among staff.

"I would have thought somewhere around 20 to 30 percent would have been vaccinated at this point."

The bonus offer had resulted in "strong interest" from employees.

Malpass said the company would like to be at 100 percent vaccination rate by mid-November.

Steel and Tube did not have a policy that new employees had to be vaccinated, but Malpass said "I think it will certainly become part of the currency for people going forward - that being vaccinated will be important as we move into an environment, hopefully without lockdowns".

"That will be pretty critical."

The more companies that got "on board" and got their employees vaccinated as soon as possible, the better, he said.

Alert level 4 in Auckland had been tough for the company.

"The economy has been pretty robust leading up into the lockdowns ... so it is a little depressing to have to pull the brakes on for a little bit."

All its Auckland sites had been closed down save one, Malpass said.

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