Standard Bank to implement mandatory Covid-19 vaccine policy for its staff
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CAPE TOWN – Standard Bank employees working on the business premises will have to be vaccinated as the banking institution makes vaccines mandatory in its latest vaccination policy.
In a leaked internal communication sent to staff and seen by IOL, Standard Bank CEO, Sim Tshabalala announced the company’s new Covid-19 Vaccination Policy which will come into effect on April 4, 2022.
The policy introduces the requirements for all employees who work on the Standard Bank Group’s premises in the country to be vaccinated but also allows for employees who have a valid reason for not being vaccinated to lodge their objection to being vaccinated on Constitutional and/or medical grounds.
In the communication, Standard Bank said it would make every attempt to reasonably accommodate people with valid objections.
“The adoption of the vaccination policy means we will require every employee of the Standard Bank Group in South Africa to provide proof that they are vaccinated, or to lodge a motivated objection by no later than March 31, 2022. We will explain your options for submitting proof of vaccination, and detail what forms of proof will be accepted as valid as earlier as possible in 2022.
“We will ensure that the process of submitting proof is quick and easy,” part of the company’s communication to employees read.
The Standard Bank Group confirmed the policy and Tshabalala said vaccines have proved themselves globally and approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), vaccines have shown to protect against serious illness and death.
“These vaccines are more effective than the immunity people get from having survived Covid-19 itself. Importantly, the vaccines also reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19 to others by 40% to 60% (depending on the specific vaccine and variant), which means that getting vaccinated helps a great deal to protect the people you care about,” Tshabalala said.
He said the decision to adopt the new approach did not come lightly and they have taken advice from the bank’s risk teams, medical experts and social scientists and have carefully weighed the scientific data gathered by the WHO, the South African National Department of Health, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and other leading African and international authorities, including the African and United States Centers for Disease Control.
“Standard Bank has also taken legal advice to ensure that people’s rights to bodily integrity, and freedom of religion, belief and opinion are respected.
“We have also discussed the rationale for our decision with our recognised trade union in South Africa, SASBO,” Tshabalala said.
He said that requiring employees to be vaccinated will make a valuable contribution to the banks’ commitment to generating positive social, economic and environmental value.
Tshabalala said this commitment specifically includes supporting better health outcomes for Africa’s people and investing in their health, safety and wellbeing; and contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, which also have a strong emphasis on health.
He said requiring the vaccination would reduce the burden on the country’s health system and reduce the “pool” of people in which new variants can develop.
“There is a powerful macroeconomic rationale for vaccination. The more people are vaccinated, the lower the risk of future ‘lockdowns’ and travel bans.
“As more people are vaccinated, business and investor confidence will undoubtedly also improve. Hence, getting vaccinated protects jobs and helps the economy to recover.
“Vaccination isn’t just a personal matter or purely a matter of operational efficiency.
“Vaccination helps our countries and our continent to recover faster from the pandemic. By getting vaccinated, we will contribute to driving Africa’s growth, which is the Group’s purpose,” Tshabalala added.