Now that South Africa has commenced its COVID-19 vaccination rollout to healthcare workers and with government expected to launch phase 2 at the beginning of May, salon and spa owners should consider their own policies for staff in this regard.
This is according to the EOHCB (Employers Organisation for Hairdressing Cosmetology & Beauty), which has published an in-depth guide in its March 2021 Journal. The EOHCB guide points out that is important for employers to start educating and informing all employees about the COVID-19 vaccine. It states: There is currently no legal restriction on mandatory vaccination policies and the implementation of such policy will need to be measured against the principle of reasonableness. When an employer contemplates a mandatory vaccination policy in the workplace, the following considerations should be taken into account:
1. Mandatory vaccination policies will inform all employees of the employer’s point of view regarding vaccination/inoculation and the reasoning behind the mandatory vaccination policy.
2. Mandatory vaccination policies also increase the health and safety of employees in the workplace and are in line with the obligation and responsibility of employers to protect their employees and maintain a healthy and safe working environment.
3. An employee’s refusal to be inoculated without reasonable justification may result in possible termination of employment on the basis of operational requirements, potential incapacity or even misconduct. Mandatory vaccination policies present an intricate balance of rights between: · Employee’s religious, cultural or philosophical objections against vaccinations. This includes superstitious and the interpretation of religious text beliefs, as well as refusal to be vaccinated because of substances in the vaccine prohibited for religious reasons, beliefs pertaining to consumption of animal products and/or the way in which these vaccines were tested. If an employee objects to be vaccinated, all objections must be considered and then be weighed up against the risk of COVID-19 and the right of a safe working environment. · Employee’s medical objections and safety concerns when an employee is deemed as high-risk.
4. When considering whether to implement a mandatory vaccination policy, employers must evaluate their individual workplaces and determine whether such a policy is truly necessary and/or whether the purpose of the policy can be achieved by implementing alternative measures.
To read the EOHCB full guide go to https://www.eohcb.co.za/articles and click on ‘March EOHCB Journal’ at the bottom of the page.