Businesses that are required to enforce vaccine passes, but refuse to do so, could face fines of up to $ 15,000.
The government today announced new details regarding vaccine mandates for businesses under the new traffic light system from December 3.
It includes a tool outlining the legal criteria that must be met before a company can require its workers to be vaccinated.
Workers covered by the My Vaccine Pass mandate must have their first dose before December 3 – 10 days – and be fully vaccinated by January 17.
Legislation allowing the entire new traffic light and vaccination warrant system to be introduced today as a matter of urgency, but with next week’s suspension, there are only two days left for debate and no public submission – a process that opposition MPs have called “chaotic and disgusting”.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood today announced a tool to help clarify which jobs should be covered by vaccinated workers and to assess when it is reasonable to require vaccination for others works.
It draws on advice from WorkSafe, public health agencies, Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions.
The four criteria, of which at least three must be met, are: the size of the workspace, the proximity of people to others, the duration of their proximity to others, and whether they provide services to vulnerable people in the workplace. Covid-19.
Fines for businesses not enforcing vaccine passes are increased to $ 12,000 for a business, or $ 15,000 for a court-imposed fine for a business.
The process would not replace risk assessments already carried out under existing health and safety guidelines, Wood said.
“Companies can choose which one they use, and all reviews made to date remain valid.”
Legislation authorizing the creation of the Immunization Assessment Tool, as well as the introduction of four weeks’ notice of paid termination and paid leave to get vaccinated, will be rushed through this week, Wood said.
“This legislation will come into force the day after it is passed. The assessment tool will then be available to businesses once regulations are made in mid-December under the amended law.”
The process was criticized by opposition MPs, with National Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop saying the government had been too slow to develop the necessary passes for the cadre and did not even have yet introduced legislation for this.
Bishop said the bill would be introduced today “urgently”, but the opposition still had not seen it.
With Parliament not sitting in the week starting Nov. 29, the bill will need to go through all stages this week for it to come into force in early December, Bishop said.
“This is a really chaotic and disgusting way of making a law that will affect all New Zealanders.
To say the legislation is important is an understatement. It will potentially affect the lives of all New Zealanders, vaccinated and unvaccinated, as well as businesses large and small.
“The traffic light setting will impact every Kiwi, during the summer and beyond.”
Wood said there were only two days left to review the legislation, but the concept of the new framework had been in the public domain for several weeks now.
Wood said requiring staff to be vaccinated was “common sense” and would give confidence to customers who have been vaccinated and mean the business will be less likely to be affected by cases.
The requirement had been tested and received broad support, including from religious communities, Wood said.
“Everyone wants to ensure the safety of their staff, customers and congregations.
“This obligation to get vaccinated applies to hospitality, events, gatherings, close contact businesses and gyms.”
To continue working in these areas, workers will need to have their first vaccination on the day the Covid-19 protection framework goes into effect, which will be Friday, December 3.
These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by January 17, 2022 to continue doing this work.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday that New Zealand will transition to the traffic light system on December 3, a framework that has a strong focus on vaccine passes.
Auckland, which is still experiencing a major outbreak, will drop straight to the top red spot, while the fate of the rest of the country will be determined by Cabinet next Monday – a move that will largely weigh on the situation with vaccination rates.
Auckland will also see a trial of the new vaccination card system from Thursday at hairdressers.
Act Party leader David Seymour said “Freedom Day” on December 3 should have been announced earlier and questioned whether it had been delayed because the vaccine was not ready.
“We are waiting for a government that is not prepared, rather than Aucklanders to get vaccinated.”