Businesses and services can’t require an individual to be vaccinated. However, you can require a specific role be performed by a vaccinated person - if you have done a health and safety risk assessment to support this.
If you think a role in your business or service needs to be performed by a worker vaccinated against COVID-19, you need to assess the role’s exposure risk to the virus. A strong indicator is if the role currently requires mandatory regular COVID-19 testing under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020.
You must assess the risk in collaboration with your workers and their representatives. Our website has general guidance about carrying out health and safety risk assessments. An assessment usually includes two factors: the likelihood of being exposed to a risk while performing a role, and the potential consequences of that risk.
To carry out a risk assessment for exposure to COVID-19 you need to consider two main things about the role:
- the likelihood of a workers being exposed to COVID-19 while performing the role, and
- the potential consequences of that exposure on others (e.g. community spread).
Identifying the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure
The first thing you need to consider in your risk assessment is the likelihood that a worker performing the role will be exposed to COVID-19. If regular testing isn’t mandatory for the role, but you still think there may be a high likelihood of exposure, the Ministry of Health has information about the transmission of COVID-19(external link) that may help you decide this. This includes information about exposure duration and where and how the exposure occurs.
Identifying the potential of that exposure on others
To help you work out potential consequences, you need to consider whether the role involves regular contact with vulnerable people (e.g. those with health conditions) and older people. The Ministry of Health has information about people who are at high risk of severe illness(external link) if they contract COVID-19.
Completing the risk assessment
If there’s a high likelihood that the person performing the role may be exposed to COVID-19 and the consequences would be significant for other people, it’s likely the role needs to be performed by a vaccinated person.
If you decide the role needs to be performed by a vaccinated person you’ll need to work through the employment implications. Employment New Zealand(external link) has guidance on this.