15 Oct 2021

Employers would base hiring decisions on vaccination status - survey

12:47 pm on 15 October 2021

Employers strongly support mandatory Covid-19 vaccination and about three-quarters would would base future hiring decisions on a candidate's status, a survey suggests.

Magnifying glass over Jobs section of newspaper classifieds

Only 9 percent of employers surveyed were unconcerned about the vaccination status of existing or potential employees. Photo: 123rf

The survey of 219 employers by legal firm Simpson Grierson indicates 69 percent overwhelmingly want mandatory vaccinations in all industries, regardless of whether they are high risk or not, while 74 percent said it would affect their hiring decisions.

Only 9 percent were not concerned about the vaccination status of existing or potential employees.

Simpson Grierson employment partner John Rooney said that suggested many unvaccinated people would find it difficult to get a new job.

However, he said employers were concerned about possible legal challenges from employees and were unlikely to implement such policies without government guidance.

"This week's government announcement mandating vaccination for employees in the health and education sector, indicates that some guidance for employers from the government may be on the way," he said.

"In the absence of a government mandate, it is still open to employers to stipulate that certain roles can only be undertaken by employees who are vaccinated."

However, he said any employer who took action should first conduct a risk assessment, consult employees and any relevant unions, and consider alternatives to the dismissal of employees who declined vaccination.

Rooney said the survey also found employers were concerned about the possibility of losing staff if they were to make vaccinations compulsory, and were also worried about unfairly discriminating against employees who were not vaccinated due to personal beliefs or medical reasons.