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Firms to ‘strongly encourage’ staff to get jabbed

Accounting firms of all sizes have begun crafting vaccination guiding principles of their own following government advice on workplace vaccinations.

Business John Buckley 02 March 2021
— 1 minute read

At one big four firm, the approach to staff vaccinations will centre less around trying to convince workers to get the jab, and more around building a workable support infrastructure which emphasises the benefits of getting vaccinated.

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“We believe there should be strong focus on and support for comprehensive education and communication so people understand the benefits of vaccination to them personally and to the community,” said Liza Maimone, chief operating officer at PwC. 

“PwC will consider ongoing government advice and will play an important role in educating and keeping our people updated with all relevant information.”

Businesses were advised by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and Safe Work Australia (SWA) last week to assume that employee vaccinations aren’t required, and that mandating them could expose businesses to charges under anti-discrimination laws. 

For most firms, the government guidelines have made for a balancing act between developing clear, fair vaccination guidelines, while heeding the advice of state health departments. 

At mid-tier firm BDO, all staff are being “strongly encouraged” to get vaccinated, despite the topic’s “sensitivity”.

“The available information suggests the vaccine provides good protection from the virus,” said Peter O’Sullivan, national leader for people and culture at BDO. 

“And while we cannot mandate the vaccination of our staff, we would strongly encourage them to take it in order to protect themselves, their families, friends and colleagues and the community.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have encouraged our staff to adhere to the health advice in their respective state and territory, and have carefully observed all health guidance in our offices.

“The pandemic is not over in Australia, and we will continue to take this approach to keep our staff, clients and the wider community safe.”

For smaller firms, though, formulating a business-wide approach to staff vaccinations hasn’t been the first order of business, and isn’t likely to be too different to the way flu jabs have been treated in the past.

“We actually haven’t given it much thought, to be honest,” said James Carey, director at Prime Partners. “We offer flu vaccines to the team each year, but have never mandated it, and will probably take the same approach here.”

Over 33,000 vaccinations have been administered nationwide as of 1 March, well short of the government’s goal of at least 60,000 shots by the end of February.

The government has also set a long-term target to vaccinate all Australian adults by October, equating to around 200,000 doses each day.

Firms to ‘strongly encourage’ staff to get jabbed
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John Buckley

John Buckley

John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily. 

Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.

Email John at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Business