Survey results from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) show that 67% of businesses believe Covid vaccines should be mandatory for frontline retail workers.
This is done taking into account government-approved exemptions, but 76% would not prescribe the vaccine in the current environment pending legal uncertainty.
There is strong support for retail workers to prioritize Covid vaccines, with 83% in favor, while 82% of ARA members support a vaccination record system that gives fully vaccinated people greater freedom.
In addition, 57% are in favor of using vaccination cards as a condition of entering retail.
"The ARA is committed to vaccinating as many Australians as possible," says ARA Managing Director Paul Zahra.
"We need to enforce the 70 and 80 percent vaccination marks to give citizens more freedom and to put an end to the lockdowns that are decimating so many businesses and livelihoods."
He continues: “Retail workers are at the forefront of the crisis and deserve priority and protection. However, the question of compulsory vaccinations for certain workforce cohorts is complex. Unfortunately, the federal government has left this decision to practical employers, and that involves a great deal of risk. Understandably, 76% of ARA members are not prepared to make jabs compulsory without legal protection. "
However, Mr. Zahra emphasizes that there is confusion and legal ambiguity in this regard: “… and we urgently need a leadership from the federal government to enable the necessary legal protection if companies decide to make vaccines compulsory for their employees. It is unfair to let small businesses navigate this legal minefield and expose them to additional costs without clarity or security.
“ARA believes that vaccine passports are not suitable for general retail use, where they would affect Australia's right to access essential essentials. In addition, vaccination records are another legally challenged area. The resources required to implement store review requirements and respond to customer inquiries and possible customer abuse resulting from the adoption of this measure add a retail workforce already grappling under the weight of Covid compliance requirements has to add an extra layer of stress, ”he says.
More than 250 participants took part in an online survey this week. Retail respondents came from all states and territories, from a wide variety of companies, including corporate retail and SMBs.