No mandatory employee vaccination policy for Momentum Metropolitan

CE Hillie Meyer fully supports the vaccination drive, but gives employees the choice.

Momentum Metropolitan CE Hillie Meyer has announced that the financial services group will not be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for employees.

This was revealed during a virtual financial results presentation, and follows a recent highly publicised announcement by Discovery that it would be implementing a mandatory employee vaccination policy.

Hillie said the group’s management fully supported the vaccination drive for employees, clients and the company. “I think it is the best weapon against the impact of Covid-19 but I would much rather sit with every one of the anti-vaxxers of our business, one-on-one and try to convince them to vaccinate. Ultimately, it will be your choice,” he said.

These comments were in line with recent feedback from President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said that employers had to strike a "delicate balance" when implementing mandatory vaccination programmes.

He noted the competing interest of an individual’s right to accept or refuse a vaccine against the responsibility of employers to prevent the spread of the virus in their operations and referred to the occupational health and safety guidelines from the Department of Employment and Labour.

According to the guidelines, an employee's vulnerability due to age or any comorbidities, as well as the risks posed due to the employee’s role are among the factors to be taken into account when deciding on a mandatory vaccination policy.

Ramaphosa said the implementation of mandatory vaccination must be based on “mutual respect, which achieves a balance between public health imperatives, the constitutional rights of employees, and the efficient operation of the employer’s business.

“That is quite a delicate balance that needs to be struck. Employees may refuse vaccination on medical or constitutional grounds. In such instances, the employer should counsel the employee and, if requested, allow them to seek guidance from a health and safety representative, worker representative or trade union official, as well as a health practitioner,” Ramaphosa said.

The president urged employers to try to accommodate employees who refuse vaccination by placing them in positions, tasks and functions that do not require the employee to be vaccinated, including functions that allow them to work from home.