*Disclaimer: Given the speed at which new laws, regulations and policies have been implemented to control the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that the responses below will be impacted.*
Has vaccination been made mandatory in your jurisdiction?
Can an employer require employees to get the COVID vaccination?
Can employers require the wearing of masks in the workplace?
Yes, this is mandatory, other than in specific circumstances (such as when the employee sits in a room on his/her own).
Can employees refuse to be vaccinated?
How does an employer need to balance its obligation to provide a safe work environment with an employee’s rights?
Given the unique and extreme circumstances of the pandemic, this balance may shift, and many employers are opting to require employees to present a Green Pass (i.e. in general, confirmation of vaccination or recovery), or alternatively, present a negative Covid test result, in order to enter the workplace, although this is not legally required (and thus poses a certain risk). We note that this practice is required in certain limited sectors, such as in medical and educational institutions. Furthermore, if employees refuse both of the above alternatives, certain employers are considering imposing WFH (with no change of employment terms).
In the event of a refusal, can an employee be dismissed for refusal to comply with the employer’s vaccination policy? Will the employee’s refusal constitute just cause for termination?
This has been a very "hot" question during the pandemic. While the pandemic was on the rise, if the employees refused to vaccinate, and further refused all of the above alternatives (i.e. presenting a negative Covid test result and WFH), then it may, depending on the employee's position, the individuals with whom the employee comes in contact, and additional relevant circumstances, be legitimate to consider termination. Note that the balance and applicable analysis may change at times when the pandemic is retreating.
What benefits or accommodations do employers have to make for vaccinated employees?
None. However, it is not uncommon to grant a day off for vaccination, or another relevant form of incentive.
Can vaccinated employees refuse to work in the same vicinity as employees who are not vaccinated?
In general, there is no such legal right. However, the employer should consider all such requests, based on the circumstances of the workplace and the employee making the request; and moreover, if the employee in question has any underlying health issues.
In your country, are employers required to provide paid leave for employees to get vaccinated?
No, however, as noted above, this is not uncommon as a form of incentive.
Herzog Fox & Neeman