The government is changing the law to enable employers in businesses where vaccine passports are mandatory to require staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
That will give them the ability to sack those who won’t – as opposed to can’t – be vaccinated.
This begs the question – will beneficiaries be required to be vaccinated too?
People on job seeker benefits are required to be work-ready.
People working in jobs which requires them to work in close contact with other people will need to be vaccinated.
The logical extension of that is that being vaccinated will be a prerequisite for many job seekers.
Yesterday’s announcement applies to work places where customers are required to be vaccinated but they aren’t the only places where people have to work in close contact with others.
One sector not mentioned in yesterday’s announcement is farming. It wouldn’t be hard for the unvaccinated to keep their distance from others outside, but it would be difficult, if not impossible, in milking and shearing sheds.
There is a shortage of workers in dairying and shearing, even in areas where there are a lot of unemployed people who could do the work.
If beneficiaries aren’t going to have to be vaccinated it will give some an excuse for not accepting lots of jobs, including on dairy farms and in shearing gangs, when it’s available.
I understand why the government isn’t suggesting people who lose their jobs because they won’t be vaccinated can’t get a benefit, or that people already on a benefit won’t be required to get vaccinated so they are eligible for more jobs.
But it has already made it much easier for people to stay on benefits longer, in spite of the economic and social harm that comes from that, and this will make it even easier.