Ryman Healthcare chief executive Gordon Macleod said having all roles filled by vaccinated staff would ensure his villages are as safe as possible for residents. Photo / Nick Reed

New Zealand’s largest pension operator wants all staff working in its retirement villages and senior care facilities to be vaccinated.

But Ryman’s proposed new policy requiring all of his roles to be filled by vaccinated staff was released this week and has come as a shock to some workers this week who feel pressured to do so.

Ryman Healthcare CEO Gordon McLeod confirmed that the company is seeking staff feedback on the proposed new Covid-19 vaccination policy to ensure its 38 villages are ‘safe havens’ for people. residents from potentially fatal viruses such as Covid.

He said this was a result of Ryman performing a robust risk assessment based on public health and health and safety regulations which concluded that an unvaccinated team member was at much greater risk. high to transmit the virus to its very vulnerable residents.

The company was now waiting for staff comments on the policy before deciding to implement the policy or a modified version of it.

But a caregiver said the director of the North Island retirement village where she worked met with a handful of unvaccinated staff on Monday for an informal discussion about the new policy and warned them they could lose their job if they didn’t get the jab.

The policy seemed like a done deal and the official told them they had a week to decide if they would receive the Covid vaccine, the worker said.

The woman said the staff were genuinely angry that this was “gushed” to them and were still unaware of the process that would follow if they decided not to.

“All I know is I can’t afford to lose my job and if the going gets tough I will probably need to get the vaccine…

“We’re going to lose our jobs so they make us do what we don’t want to do.”

Only about 5% of the staff at Ryman Retirement Village and Elderly Care Centers are not already vaccinated.

McLeod said there had been “an overwhelming show of support” for the vaccine and its efforts to protect residents, team members and families, he said.

He disagreed that they were asking anyone who did not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to be vaccinated, “he said.

If the policy were to go ahead, Ryman had not yet decided what would happen with the current members of the team who did not want to be vaccinated, other than pledging to “explore all reasonable options. “.

In the meantime, PPE has been provided to unvaccinated staff to provide additional protection against contamination with the virus.

In Australia, it is now compulsory for the elderly to be vaccinated.

Under New Zealand law, companies cannot require a person to be vaccinated, but may require that certain work be done only by vaccinated workers, where there is a high risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19. to others, according to the NZ Job website.

The company is required to perform a health and safety assessment that examines the likelihood of workers being exposed to Covid in the course of their duties and
the potential consequences of this exposure on others, including whether they are at high risk of serious illness if they catch it.


Retirement Village Association executive director John Collyns said there was no one-size-fits-all approach, but his personal opinion was that villages would at least demand that all new staff be vaccinated, because it was the only effective way for employers to mitigate risks to residents. .

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This notice was published: 2021-09-15 03:04:54


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