HospoNZ Wary of Vaccine Mandate

Hospitality NZ said the Government's intended law to force COVID-19 vaccination on hospitality staff has covered some concerns, but it remains wary of the affects on and costs to the industry.

CEO Julie White said the law announced clearly reflects Hospitality NZ's feedback that employment laws would be breached if employers required vaccination, so a legal framework provides protection.

“This law will create stressful weeks for hospitality staff and employers, but it will ease some of the bigger legal risks.

“We had to point these risks out in consultation a few weeks ago, so it’s helpful to have this clarity now.

“The law needs to eliminate the risk that any employer will be sued if they follow the Government’s framework for sacking unvaccinated workers."

She warned that Government or public enthusiasm for the law will come at a high price already most hit by the Government's health rules.

“After months of low or no income, hospitality is on a knife-edge. After everything it’s been through, trying to hold onto staff – it will now be asked to go through the trauma of sacking treasured career workers, and to pay for their notice period."

She said the sector is wary of the effects and costs of the law as there is a lot more detail to come and practicalities to be finalised.

It is currently doubtful that discrimination based on a health and safety assessment specific to each venue can legally be used to support a society-level health objective.

Discriminating against non-vaccinated people will be a prima facie breach of the Bill of Rights provision that people can refuse medical treatment. The Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on grounds of things such as pregnancy, religious and ethical beliefs, and political opinion.