Workers urged to get jabbed


Taking it in their stride: Juliana Abdul Halim Lee (right) has been working from home for the past year as her employer Petronas Malaysia encouraged their workers to do so. Her housemate Nur Arafah Anina Hishamuddin, also 26, who is with Azmi & Co Sdn Bhd, has also been working from their house in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Both received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine recently. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: More companies are taking measures to make sure their workers are fully vaccinated, including allowing only those who have been inoculated to enter the workplace.

They said this was in support of the government’s objective to make sure as many people as possible are vaccinated.

PKT Logistics chief executive officer Datuk Seri Michael Tio has set Aug 10 for all his 1,500-strong staff to get vaccinated or they would not be allowed into their work premises in Selangor, Pahang and Penang.

“The government is making the effort under Operation Surge Capacity for every adult resident in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to receive at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Aug 1.

“It is our duty to also make sure our employees are vaccinated, and that they in turn make sure their families are vaccinated.

“We handle logistics for food, ensuring people have access to food, and some of our staff have not stopped working despite the restrictions and lockdowns,” he said here yesterday.

No compromises: Tio (left) and Syed Hussain believe that vaccination is key to group safety.No compromises: Tio (left) and Syed Hussain believe that vaccination is key to group safety.

Tio said his company has been utilising all available vaccination programmes to get employees vaccinated including the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas), as well as riding on its manufacturing clients.

“We are getting all heads of department to make sure staff are vaccinated through frequent updates, which include their family’s vaccination status,” he said, adding that those who refused the vaccination would be interviewed by the human resource department.

“After evaluating their reasons, for office staff, we will ask them to remain working from home until the movement restrictions are over,” he said, adding that those who are unable to take the vaccine for medical reasons will work from home.

Tio added that for future employment with the company, vaccination may be one of the prerequisites for those who need to interact with clients or travel.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia treasurer Koong Lin Loong said companies in the Klang Valley have been frequently updating their staff’s vaccination status.

“For those who are not or refused to get vaccinated, the human resource department will usually inquire further what the reason was and put in on the record,” he said.

Some companies, Koong added, have yet to decide on the deadline for their staff to get vaccinated as they prefer to observe the crowd after Aug 1 when all can walk in for their vaccine.

“It is good for all to cooperate and ramp up vaccination. If every employer has the mindset to inoculate as many of their workers as possible, this will help the community in the Klang Valley as cases here remain high,” he said.

For the medium term, Koong said vaccination will be a requirement for future employment in fear of a recurrence of variant cases and to protect the current workforce, similar to the medical check-up upon employment that is being practised now.

Malaysian Employers Federation president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said most companies are educating their staff on vaccination objectives and benefits while providing them paid time-off and travelling allowances to get inoculated.

He said some companies have even joined hands with their neighbours and turn their premises into vaccination centres under Pikas to facilitate and encourage employees to get vaccinated quickly and conveniently.

Syed Hussain said he hoped that full operations are allowed for all companies that have fully vaccinated their employees and adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP), considering the risk assessment and R0 (R-naught) rating in the area.

He, however, said that employers should acknowledge that the government and the Health Ministry specifically have stated that vaccination is voluntary.

“Continuous education on the benefits and effects of vaccination should be disseminated to all employees,” he added.

Many employers, he said, especially those in the non-essential sectors, are hoping for areas under Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) to be quickly transitioned to Phase Two for them to quickly resume operations.

The Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine supply should speed up Pikas and open it up to all sectors for non-essential sectors of the economy to resume soon, he added.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said those who are not vaccinated will eventually lose out in terms of employment as bosses will prefer vaccinated candidates to reduce infection and protect their staff.

“Companies cannot force employees to be vaccinated, so employers have to be prepared to make adjustments to protect their workers and ensure a safe workplace for all levels.

“It is not only important to inoculate as many workers as possible, but their immediate family members must also be vaccinated too,” he added.

Kang urged employers with workers who have yet to be vaccinated to utilise the walk-in practice after Aug 1 at any vaccine dispensing centre, as it is “important to protect workers’ health, ensure a safer workplace while making preparations to go back to business.”

As workers share workspaces, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Datuk Halim Mansor advised them to follow the recommendations and get vaccinated.

Under the Employment Act, he said employers have to ensure workplace safety.

“This makes it difficult for MTUC to represent people who do not want to be vaccinated but want to work. There is a risk because we have other members who are vaccinated.

“It should not be negotiated. We should follow the rules so that everybody is safe,” he said, adding that those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons should be exempted.

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companies , vaccination , Pikas , workers

   

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