COVID-19: Survey reveals 64 percent of Kiwi workers want employers to require employees to get the jab

A new survey has revealed two-thirds of New Zealand workers believe employers should require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

ELMO Software commissioned the quarterly Employee Sentiment Index which examines attitudes, actions and concerns of New Zealand workers.

The results of which were released on Wednesday and show 64 percent of the 530 workers interviewed believe employers should require their employees to be vaccinated.

It also found two in five Kiwi workers (42 percent) are uncomfortable going into work if their colleagues are not vaccinated.

Members of the public will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine from the end of July and CEO Danny Lessem said determining work environment requirements will be a challenge employers will have to navigate.

"We are already seeing different companies take different approaches to managing vaccination requirements in the workplace. It's far from a cut-and-dried matter and will require employers to be able to engage in transparent one-to-one communication with their employees. 

"The vaccine rollout is an important issue for workers' perceptions of economic security with 72 percent stating the economy will only return to normal if the rollout is successful. The message from New Zealand workers is clear - to kickstart the economy we need to kickstart the vaccine rollout."

The survey also questioned the workers on how important they believe the vaccine rollout will be on getting the economy to return to normal.

Three quarters (72 percent) said they believe the economy will only return to normal if the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is successful. 

Currently, 57 percent of respondents believe New Zealand is on track with its vaccination rollout compared to 41 percent in Australia.

Employment NZ said workplaces around the country will play a "key role" in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

It also acknowledges it will likely raise some important employment and health and safety questions.

"Businesses, workers and their representatives should communicate early and openly," the Employment NZ website said.

"The duty of good faith in employment relationships and consultation requirements under the Health and Safety at Work Act also apply to conversations about workplace vaccination issues. Businesses and workers can also access support from MBIE's Early Resolution Service to resolve employment problems early and informally."

Employment NZ is urging businesses to support NZ workers to access the vaccines by providing employees with access vaccination during work hours, providing relevant information about the importance of vaccines and to support on-site vaccination if asked to do so.