OPINION

Unpacking the new Code of Practice re mandatory vaccinations for Covid-19

Jacqui Reed |

06 April 2022

Jacqui Reed says refusals based on religious or constitutional grounds have been rejected by CCMA so far

Unpacking the New Code of Practice re Mandatory vaccinations for Covid-19

SUMMARY

On 4 April 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the National State of Disaster would be lifted with effect from 00:00 on 5 April 2022. 

One of the effects of this is that the Code of Good Practice: Managing Exposure to SARS-COV-2 in the Workplace (Code) became effective on 5 April 2022.

Whilst it is not a requirement for employers to implement a mandatory vaccination policy in their workplace, those employers who wish to do so and who are governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) should be guided by the Code, a summary of which is set out below.

The Code provides employers who have implemented a mandatory vaccination policy or who intend to implement such a policy with the necessary clarity and comfort, firstly, in relation to vaccinations status and whether an employer is entitled to this information, and secondly, in relation to whether employees may or may not be dismissed for failing or refusing to vaccinate and thereby acting in contravention of a mandatory vaccination policy.

–>

It remains to be seen whether employers who are yet to implement such policies will do so in light of the relaxing of restrictions. There have been several media reports of large organisations choosing not to implement their mandatory vaccination policies and to rather focus on persuading employees to vaccinate.

In his address on 4 April 2022, President Ramaphosa noted that by ending the National State of Disaster, “we are each taking more individual responsibility for protecting our health and the health of others.

CONTINUING OBLIGATIONS

Employers ought to be aware of their continued obligations to their employees, other workers and members of the public to: