24 May 2021

Can I make my employees get vaccinated?

With the ramping up of New Zealand’s COVID Vaccination campaign, workplaces will and are playing a key role. This is likely raise to some important questions regarding privacy, employment, workplace health and safety and responsibilities. Our People & Culture Specialists have answered some common questions here

Can I make my employees get vaccinated?
No, you cannot make your employees get vaccinated- you can only require that certain roles are performed by employees who are vaccinated if it poses a health and safety risk. This requires the work to be covered by a Health Order or a risk assessment that shows that there is high risk of getting and/or infecting others with COVID-19. Very few occupations in New Zealand would be applicable to this.

How can my business support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign?
It is encouraged by Employment New Zealand for all employers to make it easier for their employees to get vaccinated. This can be done by removing barriers like time off work and costs.


I have an unvaccinated employee- can I change their work arrangements or transfer them to other positions if vaccination is required for their job?
Consulting the employee and their union (if applicable) is important, to ensure that the changes to their work arrangements like hours, change of duties, responsibilities, location, lower risk positions is agreed to. Also consider postponing the duties that  require vaccination if vaccination is delayed due to current medical conditions.

How do I know if my employees need to be vaccinated?

Some employees will be covered by a Health Order, which requires vaccination.

If your business is not covered by a Health Order, and you think vaccination might be needed, you must first evaluate your COVID-19 exposure risk. You must talk to workers, unions (where there is one) and other representatives when doing a risk assessment process, and also when deciding how to eliminate or minimize risks.


The above advice is an overview only, our People & Culture Specialists are available to provide you with more detailed advice if required.