Duncan Cotterill COVID-19 vaccination policy

Introduction
Duncan Cotterill is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all partners, staff and persons who are affected by our work.

Duncan Cotterill’s priority is to ensure we do everything we reasonably can to protect and prevent all persons within our community being exposed to the risk of COVID-19.

Duncan Cotterill has determined that it is necessary under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to put in place a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy to minimise the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 in our workplace and to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our partners, staff, clients, and other persons with whom they may interact.

Duncan Cotterill strongly believes vaccination provides the greatest protection against COVID-19 and wishes to ensure that all workers have the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19 without being disadvantaged in the workplace.

Commencement
This policy will come into effect on 1 December 2021 subject to any further NZ Government announcements that may impact on that timing or the terms of this policy.

Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to:

  • set out the obligations and responsibilities of all people covered by this Policy;
  • outline Duncan Cotterill’s responsibility and commitment to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for all workers, clients and visitors; and
  • ensure as far as reasonably practicable a safe and healthy workplace.

Scope
This Policy applies to all workers, including (but not limited to) partners, employees, consultants and contractors who have been engaged to provide services to or on behalf of Duncan Cotterill.

This Policy applies subject to any NZ Government orders and or legislation enacted relating to COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines.

Responsibilities
All workers are responsible for:

  • familiarising themselves and complying with this Policy and its requirements;
  • ensuring they are aware of any safety requirements (including COVID-19 control measures) and firm guidelines and procedures that apply to their role;
  • following official Government health requirements in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Definitions
For the purposes of this Policy:

  • A vaccinated person is a person who has received a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine, as recommended by the New Zealand Ministry of Health, and who has provided Duncan Cotterill with satisfactory proof of vaccination. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes receiving further vaccine courses (including for example booster shots) which may be recommended from time to time;
  • The COVID-19 vaccine means a COVID-19 vaccine that is approved for use in New Zealand. Vaccines which are currently approved include Pfizer BioNTech (Comirnaty), AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). If a worker has received a different COVID-19 vaccine overseas, Duncan Cotterill will assess whether this is sufficient for the purpose of this Policy on a case-by-case basis and will have regard to whether the vaccine is approved by the World Health Organisation-COVAX.
  • Proof of vaccination means written proof that a person has received a full course of a COVID-19 Vaccine. Examples include a copy of your Vaccine Certificate/My Vaccine Pass from My Covid Record, a letter from the Ministry of Health, a Medical Certificate.

Activities restricted to vaccinated persons
Although Duncan Cotterill respects that each worker is entitled to make their own choice about whether to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, it has identified and assessed that the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission, and also the risk of serious illness, is highest for persons who are unvaccinated.

Accordingly, Duncan Cotterill has determined that to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the safety, health and wellbeing of its workers and other persons they may come into contact with, unvaccinated persons will not be permitted to engage in certain activities which present a heightened risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission.

Restricted activities
From the date this Policy comes into effect, only workers who have provided Duncan Cotterill with satisfactory proof of vaccination will be permitted to:

  • Access and work from Duncan Cotterill’s offices;
  • Attend in-person meetings or events held by Duncan Cotterill;
  • Attend third party and client sites for work purposes;
  • Undertake work-related travel (which includes both domestic and international travel).

Unvaccinated workers
Unvaccinated workers, clients, (including workers who have declined to share their vaccination status with Duncan Cotterill) will not be entitled to engage in the restricted activities outlined above.

Where possible and practical, Duncan Cotterill will still support unvaccinated workers to continue to perform their roles remotely. Such an arrangement will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is meeting the needs of both parties.

Where it is impractical for an unvaccinated worker to perform their role remotely, and/or if it is necessary for an unvaccinated worker to engage in restricted activities / or attend our offices in order to discharge their responsibilities, Duncan Cotterill will consult with the worker about how to manage this. As part of this consultation, Duncan Cotterill may give consideration to alternative work arrangements including:

  • Possible modifications to the worker’s role including for example reduced or alternative duties; and
  • Redeploying the worker into an alternative role which can be performed remotely.

In the event that an alternative work arrangement cannot be identified, is impractical to implement, or is not agreed to by the worker concerned, Duncan Cotterill may consider termination of the worker’s engagement or employment as a last resort.

Third party access to Duncan Cotterill offices
Consistent with the intent of this policy, access to Duncan Cotterill offices and any Duncan Cotterill event by all visitors (including clients, suppliers and tradespeople) will be restricted to only fully vaccinated persons who will need to provide proof of vaccination or scan their My Vaccine Pass as a condition of entry to its premises and any Duncan Cotterill events.

Persons aged under 12 years of age (or younger if vaccination is approved by the NZ Government) who are not able to be vaccinated may attend Duncan Cotterill offices if necessary.

Exceptions for persons who are unable to be vaccinated for a protected reason
Duncan Cotterill recognises that certain persons are unable to be vaccinated for reasons which are protected by the Human Rights Act 1993. An example of this may include where a person is unable to be vaccinated due to a diagnosed health condition.

Duncan Cotterill will, upon request, consider exceptions for workers who are unable to be vaccinated due to a protected reason, and who need to engage in an activity which would otherwise be restricted by this policy.

Exception requests need to be made in writing to the HR Manager/Senior Manager People and Culture. When making a request, the worker will need to explain why they are unable to be vaccinated, and provide adequate supporting evidence. E.g. For a medical exception to be granted the worker will need to provide a medical certificate from a suitably qualified health practitioner who determines (in the course of examining the person) the worker meets the clinical criteria as outlined by the Ministry of Health for a medical exemption and it would be inappropriate for that person to be vaccinated. See Ministry of Health criteria here.

An exception will only be granted if Duncan Cotterill is satisfied that:

  • The worker’s reason for not being vaccinated is supported by adequate evidence and is protected under the Human Rights Act 1993; and
  • It is reasonably practicable to implement any additional safety or control measures which would be required if the exception is granted; and
  • Granting the exception will not expose the worker or other persons to unacceptable risk; and
  • Any accommodation or changes required to accommodate the worker does not unreasonably disrupt Duncan Cotterill activities.

Additional health and safety measures
It is recognised that vaccination is only one part of managing the risks posed by COVID-19.

Accordingly, all workers, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to comply with any further health and safety control measures which Duncan Cotterill may put in place from time to time. These measures may include (but are not limited to) requirements relating to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use, physical distancing, ventilation, or client/third party site visits, and may include restrictions on activities which are otherwise permitted for vaccinated persons under this Policy.

Given the speed with which the COVID-19 pandemic can evolve, any additional measures will be set out in the COVID-19 Control Register as updated by Duncan Cotterill from time to time.

Vaccination register
In order to administer and ensure compliance with this Policy, Duncan Cotterill is required to compile and maintain a Vaccine Register which includes the following information:

  • The names of all workers;
  • Whether they have provided satisfactory proof of vaccination; and
  • Whether they have been granted an exception under this Policy.

The Vaccine Register, and/or any information contained within it, will:

  • Be used solely for the purposes of:
    • ensuring the health and safety of all workers and other persons who interact with workers and/or attend the workplace;
    • monitoring compliance with the requirements of this Policy; and
    • demonstrating compliance with any third party or client requirements relating to the vaccination status of Duncan Cotterill’s workers (subject to appropriate consent being obtained from a worker or workers);
  • Be stored in a secure manner;
  • Only be disclosed to a third party if required by law or with the consent of the worker concerned (for example if a client requests proof of vaccination before allowing a worker to attend their premises);
  • Only be retained for as long as there is a need to have knowledge of a worker’s vaccination status and/or to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated workers;
  • Be destroyed in a safe and secure manner once there is no longer a need for Duncan Cotterill to retain information about a worker’s vaccine status.

Where to obtain further information
If anyone has any questions about this policy and how it applies to them, they should speak with their supervising partner, manager or contact the People and Culture team.

Where can I find more information about vaccinations and COVID-19 ?
The firm recommends anyone seeking further information about vaccinations, or who has any health concerns, to speak to their medical practitioner. General information can also be found online at https://covid19.govt.nz or at Ministry of Health New Zealand website: https://www.health.govt.nz or Law Society guidance NZLS | COVID-19 vaccination in legal workplaces (lawsociety.org.nz).

Review
Duncan Cotterill will periodically review this Policy and the need for such restrictions and requirements in accordance with NZ Government orders and or legislation enacted relating to COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines.