Qantas Airlines has announced that all of its employees will be required to be fully vaccinated by March 2022.
Qantas has this week announced that its employees would be subject to a Coronavirus vaccine mandate. The decision supposedly comes after employee surveys were conducted to gain their view on the vaccine. Surveys showed that most respondents were either already vaccinated or willing to be. As a result, the airline requests that all frontline workers, who interact with the public regularly, are fully vaccinated by 15th November 2021. This includes cabin crew staff, pilots and airport workers. All other staff will need to be fully vaccinated by 31st March 2022.
Qantas has become the latest airline to really push for vaccines amongst its staff, something that the UN strongly promoted earlier this year. There will, however, of course, be exemptions from the mandate. Employees with medical reasons will not be expected to receive the vaccine if it is not safe for them to do so. Although, Qantas has stated it will require documented evidence of exemption.
Before enacting the mandate, Qantas sent out the aforementioned survey to around 20,000 employees to obtain their views on the vaccine. They then used this to inform the vaccine policy. Qantas found that 89% of employees had already been vaccinated or planned to be fully vaccinated. Just 4% stated they were unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine, whilst the remaining 7% indicated undecided. Around three-quarters of employees also stated that they believed it should be mandatory for all employees to be vaccinated and expressed concerns regarding working with unvaccinated colleagues.
On the other hand, however, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) has slammed Qantas’ announcement. The union is not against the vaccination of staff but is concerned with the lack of planning that has been put into the mandate. It also highlighted workers’ concerns regarding getting the vaccine and the risk of a pay loss if they choose not to get vaccinated. Clearly, there is still a lot to be worked out, but Qantas is on the right track.