Vaccinations must remain a free choice
Chanté du Preez, Policy advisor at NEASA (National Employers Association of South Africa)
On October 22, the Compensation Fund Commissioner published a notice in the Government Gazette, indicating that the Compensation Fund (hereinafter ‘the Fund’), will compensate employees, who experience any “injuries, illness or death” as a result of receiving a Covid-19 vaccination.
The Fund will, however, only compensate employees who receive a Covid-19 vaccination, either as a result of the inherent requirements of their employment or, subject to an Occupational Health and Safety risk assessment conducted by the employer. For a claim to be successful the following requirements, as per the notice, will apply:
- the vaccination must be regarded as an inherent requirement of the job as determined by the employer’s risk assessment;
- the employee must have been vaccinated with a SAHPRA-approved Covid-19 vaccine;
- evidence must be provided of the employer’s Risk Assessment and Vaccination Plan as set out in paragraph 3(1)(a)(i)(ii) and (b) of the Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces, dated 28 May 2021;
- the chronological sequence between the vaccine inoculation and the development of symptoms and clinical signs must be provided;
- the employee must have presented with symptoms and clinical signs that are generally recognised as side effects of a Covid-19 vaccine; and
- additional tests may be required to assess the presence of abnormalities of any organ affected.
The notice further states the following:
“This Notice must not be interpreted to establish any law, regulation or rule that employers may subject their employees to vaccine inoculation against their will.”
We remind employers of NEASA’s position, as highlighted, among others, in our newsletter published on September 7, cautioning employers against implementing mandatory vaccinations within the workplace, which position remains unchanged.